Vanuatu achieves 95% reduction in malaria burden

Vanuatu has achieved an impressive 95% reduction in malaria burden, since 2010.

Last year there were 502 malaria cases nationwide.

There have been no deaths since 2012. 

A Ministry of Health report stated the few remaining malaria hot spots are in the three provinces of MALAMPA, SHEFA and SANMA, with 94% of cases on the islands of Malekula, Santo and Epi. 

Transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, one of the best prevention measures against malaria is to ensure everyone sleeps under an insecticide treated net. 

Tafea province successfully eliminated malaria in 2014 and has managed to maintain zero local cases since then.

The elimination approach first applied in TAFEA province is hailed as a success not only in Vanuatu but also regionally and globally.

Progress against malaria in Vanuatu and the rest of the Pacific will be crucial to realizing a malaria-free Asia-Pacific by 2030.

With high burden remaining in Papua New Guinea and reports of increases in the Solomon Islands, the Pacific still accounts over a third of malaria in the Asia Pacific region.

A certified malaria-free Vanuatu would be a huge achievement and contribution towards Regional goals. Vanuatu should sustain and intensify efforts against “old” diseases like malaria so that they can become a thing of the past, and free resources to tackle new and emerging threats like COVID-19.

A malaria-free Vanuatu would also mean a success story for the Pacific region and provide a model to follow to address other communicable diseases in Vanuatu.