Vietnam's Ministry of Health (MoH) and PATH, a US-based nonprofit health organization, convened a conference this week to call for financial and human resources to prevent and control malaria, with the goal of successfully eliminating the mosquito-borne disease from the country by 2030.
The goal is in line with the 2023 Plan for Malaria, Parasites and Insect Control and Prevention, as Vietnam has recently achieved remarkable results in preventing and controlling the dangerous tropical disease.
The National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology (NIMPE) reported that over the past 30 years, malaria deaths in Vietnam have dropped from over 4,600 to only one death last year, and no malaria epidemic.
In 1991, malaria broke out nationwide, infecting more than 1 million and killing 4,646. In 2022, the number of malaria patients was only 455, including one death, and no malaria epidemic broke out. To date, 42 provinces and municipalities have been recognized as malaria-free.
A health worker sprays insecticides to kill mosquitoes in Hanoi. Photo: Duc Tuan/ The Hanoi Times
However, more than 6.8 million people are still threatened by the disease, which is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes. Major causes include drug-resistant malaria virus, population mobility, chemically-resistant mosquitoes, and modest malaria prevention, control and elimination resources.
NIMPE has monitored dengue-transmitting mosquitoes and detected changes in their behavior and chemical resistance in 57 areas in 12 provinces.
In addition, more than 12.8 million children aged 24-60 months, primary school students, and women of reproductive age were dewormed in 2022 in campaigns to prevent and control parasitic diseases.
The MoH proposed that, together with the evaluation of the progress of the national strategy against malaria by 2020 with a vision to 2030, relevant professional guidelines should be reviewed, adapted and supplemented to be implemented comprehensively throughout the country.
Besides, the ministry will roll out measures to prevent disease from returning 42 malaria-free localities, while supporting medical staff and applying new techniques in preventing, detecting, and treating the diseases.
Furthermore, local authorities need to evaluate the sensitivity of mosquitoes that transmit malaria and dengue fever to some insecticides, develop a list of insect testing techniques for health establishments at all levels, and draw out maps of mosquito distribution, strengthen training and mobilise resources from international organisations.
For many years, Vietnam has progressively implemented appropriate strategies to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality through the National Malaria Prevention Program.
Vietnam has applied scientific advances in malaria detection, diagnosis, and treatment, and has implemented active prevention measures. These include the use of artemisinin and its derivatives to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the 1990s, indoor residual spraying, insecticide-treated nets, and long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.