7th Annual APMEN Meeting held in Vietnam

Co-hosted by the Ministry of Health of Vietnam, the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) held its seventh annual meeting in Hoi An, Vietnam from March 24-27, 2015. Over 160 participants, including malaria program managers from 14 of the 17 APMEN country partners, technical experts, and collaborating partner institutions, including the World Health Organization, attended the meeting.

As co-chair of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), Vietnam led the APMEN country partners in endorsing the goal of a Malaria-Free Asia Pacific by 2030 that was declared by Asia Pacific leaders at last year's East Asia Summit in Myanmar. The Hoi An Endorsement of a Malaria-Free Asia Pacific by 2030 acknowledges the critical role of APMEN and national malaria program managers in achieving the 2030 goal and affirms the work of APLMA in engaging high-level political leadership.

During the APMEN meeting, discussions focused around the various technical and operational considerations needed to achieve this goal, including elimination of Plasmodium vivax, vector control, risk mapping, and quality program management. The importance of Plasmodium knowlesi was also frequently mentioned by country partners. Presenters also outlined initiatives in the region to understand the costs of elimination and how elimination can be financed—either from national governments, donors, or innovative financing mechanisms.

The second day of the meeting focused on how to define, engage and provide services to populations at high risk of malaria in elimination settings. These included understanding vulnerability, leveraging social networks, and using respondent driven sampling methods to identify behaviors of migrant and mobile populations. Participants discussed how identifying and engaging with communities at risk of malaria could lead to improved targeting of interventions.

Representatives from regional initiatives in Latin America and southern Africa were also present; throughout the meeting, they shared their experiences in driving down malaria while highlighting progress in research, capacity building, and advocacy for elimination.

The UCSF Global Health Group, in conjunction with the University of Queensland, has supported APMEN since 2009 as the Network's Joint Secretariat.