World Malaria Day 2016 – A National Commemoration

Malaysia has come a long way in her battle with Malaria since 2001. With approximately 12,780 cases in 2001, it now stands at 2,510 cases in 2015. Out of the 12,780 cases, 8,808 were indigenous human malaria transmission, with the remaining numbers from imported cases as well as zoonotic transmission. Since then, the total number of human-to-human transmission has been reduced to 242 cases in a span of less than 15 years. And for this, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia has much to be proud of.

During the national commemorative session of World Malaria Day 2016 on 5 May 2016, the coastal state of Terengganu on the Peninsula Island played host to a variety of activities. The theme this year was “Banteras Malaria Demi Kesejahteraan Sejagat” which translates to “Eliminate Malaria for the Good of the People”.

Bayer was invited to be the only chemical company to have an exhibition booth at the event. When Datuk Dr. Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Health visited our booth, we introduced the Bayer 360◦ Vector Control approach in battling vector-borne diseases. We also briefed him on our on-going partnership initiatives with the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) in using unique solutions to battle malaria.

Currently, IMR is conducting a trial in Borneo using K-Othrine Polyzone by way of an outdoor residual spray as a possible solution to control simian malaria. Part of our discussions with Dr. Lokman included the upcoming resistance management solutions that will be tested with IMR later this year. With a strong partnership between the ministry and Bayer, Malaysia achieving malaria-free status could soon become a reality.

The highlight of this year’s commemorative celebrations was a forum with top Malaria researchers and state directors of public health in the country. During the forum, Dr. Ummi Kalthom Bt. Shamsudin, Public Health Expert, Deputy Director (Malaria), Vector Control Sector, Ministry of Health, gave an updated overview of the current malaria situation in Malaysia.

Key takeaways were a pledge by the Ministry of Health of Malaysia to achieve Malaria-free (human to human transmission) status by 2020; and that there has been an increase in zoonotic transmission in recent years that could be attributed to urbanization and deforestation.

To be able to make that pledge a reality, a concerted effort from both the public and private sectors is needed.

The Bayer team with Datuk Dr. Lokman Sulaiman, Deputy Director General Ministry of Health, Malaysia and Dr. Rose Nani Mudin (Head of Vector Borne Disease Sector, Ministry of Health Malaysia).