China’s Ministry of Health Outlines Plan To Eliminate Malaria by 2015
China's Ministry of Health on Friday announced that it has developed a draft plan to virtually eliminate malaria from the country by 2015, Xinhuanet reports. According to Xinhuanet, the plan aims to reduce malaria incidence to less than one case per 10,000 people in high-burden regions and to no cases in low-burden regions between 2010 and 2015.
In developing the plan, the ministry identified two types of regions affected by malaria. The "level one" areas have an annual malaria incidence of more than one case per 10,000 people, while the "level two" regions have an annual incidence of less than one per 10,000 people. Both levels reported malaria cases between 2006 and 2008, Xinhuanet reports. According to the health ministry, the malaria eradication plan calls for all level one regions and for 20% of level two regions to reduce malaria incidence to less than one case per 10,000 people by 2015. In addition, the plan aims to eradicate malaria from 80% of the level two regions.
Under the proposal, central and local governments will provide funding for the malaria control programs, an unnamed official from the health ministry's disease control department said. The official added that the government would determine funding levels after finalizing the plan. According to Xinhuanet, the proposal calls for local health departments and medical facilities to use diagnostic technology, health education and standardized treatment to contribute to malaria prevention efforts. In addition, the ministry recommended establishing malaria awareness and prevention campaigns, which could include indoor insecticide spraying and the distribution of insecticide-treated nets. Under the malaria eradication plan, 95% of China's level one regions should have access to ITNs by 2015. According to Xinhuanet, the ministry published its proposal Wednesday on its Web site and is allowing a public comment period.
According to Xinhuanet, although China reported about 24 million malaria cases in the 1970s, the number of cases declined to several hundred thousand by the late 1990s. However, the disease recently has "re-emerged" in China's central and southern provinces, possibly as a result of insufficient prevention work, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 4/10).