Video of George Jagoe delivering a statement by Medicines for Malaria Venture at the 71st session of the WHO Regional Committee Meeting (RCM) for the Western Pacific.

71st session of the WHO Regional Committee Meeting (RCM) for the Western Pacific

Agenda Item 14.4, Thematic priority: Reaching the unreached: Statement by Medicines for Malaria Venture, delivered by George Jagoe

Thank you for the opportunity to address the 71st WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific on the topic of “Reaching the unreached”. My name is George Jagoe and I work for Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV). We are  a product development partnership that is dedicated to discovering, developing and helping create access to new treatments for malaria.

There has been important progress towards the goal of a malaria free Asia Pacific by 2030, but estimated cases have been creeping upwards since 2015. This rising burden is highest in the most remote and difficult to reach populations, often in cross-border areas.  To make progress where conditions are hardest, we should strive to deploy our most effective and efficient treatments.

New tools are becoming available to more effectively treat malaria, especially the relapsing form known as Plasmodium vivax. P. vivax is particularly difficult to eliminate because a form of this parasite (hypnozoites) can remain in a human liver after blood-stage treatment, and that can cause relapse and ongoing transmission of the disease. Historically, eliminating hypnozoites from the human body required treatment with 14-days of primaquine. That brought compliance challenges. New point-of-care G6PD tests are allowing us to consider shorter regimens such as 7-day primaquine and single-dose tafenoquine. MMV and its partners will work with Member States to consider the appropriate adoption of these new tools.

For elimination to be achieved, hard-to-reach populations must have routine access to prevention and treatment. This will require coordinated efforts between governments, the private sector and civil society organisations. Cross-border cooperation should be elaborated by Ministries of Health in order to reach the goal of a malaria-free Asia Pacific by 2030.