The fight against malaria is one of the biggest success stories of the 21st century. The number of deaths caused by malaria globally declined 48 percent between 2000 and 2015 – that translates to an estimated 6.4 million deaths averted.
But threats to progress are real: in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia, the emergence and spread of resistance to artemisinin – the most commonly used drug against malaria – threatens to undo hard-fought gains and could be globally devastating if it occurs in a wider geographic area.
In addition to preventive measures and rapid treatment, our most effective weapon against malaria is strong partnerships that can constantly adapt to changing situations on the ground. The Global Fund’s Regional Artemisinin Initiative (RAI) supports a partnership of external funders, multilateral agencies, technical partners, scientific researchers, local communities and governments in five Southeast Asian countries to speed the response to drug-resistant malaria.
Myat Thu Sin’s story shows how rapid testing allowed her to start treatment and be cured – before the malaria parasite could spread. Speed is of the essence when malaria cases are detected, and RAI supports local and national health systems to respond quickly to save lives.