Role of the private sector in Malaysia's malaria elimination program

Engagement between commercial sector partners and national malaria control programs can be a key strategy for addressing challenges in malaria elimination settings.

A new study published in Malaria Journal, Eliminating malaria in Malaysia: the role of partnerships between the public and commercial sectors in Sabah, documents ongoing collaborations between Malaysia's Malaria Control Program (MCP) and private industry on the island of Borneo. The observational study highlights these partnerships as successful examples that may serve as precedents for other countries on the path to elimination.

Malaysia is currently working towards a goal of national malaria elimination by the year 2020. Although they have reduced malaria incidence by more than 75% since 2000, cases remain in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. To address ongoing challenges to successful malaria elimination in Sabah, state and district level MCP offices work with commercial palm oil, rubber and acacia plantations to provide training and supervision for surveillance and prevention activities. In return, plantations contribute financing and human resources for control efforts, and help monitor the malaria situation on-site. Through these partnerships, the MCP is able to reach high-risk populations, likely contributing to declines in malaria incidence on site to increase economic productivity.

The data collection for the case study on malaria elimination in Malaysia was conducted by researchers at the UCSF Global Health Group's Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Malaysia. The case study was jointly funded by Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) and the MEI. The Case Study Advisory Committee of the Malaria Elimination Group (MEG) provided technical input. A comprehensive case study report on malaria elimination in Malaysia will be published in 2014 as part of the UCSF Global Health Group – WHO Global Malaria Programme malaria elimination case study series.