VIENTIANE, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Regional experts are gathering in Lao capital Vientiane to discuss the control and elimination of malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) by 2030 at a three-day workshop being held from Wednesday to Friday.
The workshop draws the participation of experts from Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, as well as World Health Organization (WHO) Offices from Laos and the Philippines with the event supported by the Asian Development Bank.
The purpose of the workshop is to jointly control malaria within GMS thereby making the number of people infected as small as possible by 2030, said Bounlay Phommasack, director general of the Communicable Disease Control Department under Lao Ministry of Health.
Major challenges for malaria's regional elimination include authorities collecting accurate data from moving populations, protecting at-risk rural populations, and utilizing volunteers in malaria prevention awareness raising campaigns for target communities.
"Some people infected with malaria do not receive treatment, while some do not sleep under insecticide-treated nets, and then malaria spreads to other people and this makes the elimination of malaria difficult," Bounlay was quoted by Lao state-run media Vientiane Times as saying.
Moreover, some people are still sick when they are infected with malaria even though they have received treatment because their body has developed drug resistance.
Health authorities will add malaria to epidemiological analysis, and will improve information systems to ensure accurate nationwide reporting about cases and deaths from the disease every week. Besides, they will prepare personnel to follow up and treat patients who have drug resistance, said the official.