A woman installs a mosquito net over her child in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Credit: EPA/LEGNAN KOULA
A woman installs a mosquito net over her child in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Credit: EPA/LEGNAN KOULA

Migration can pose challenges to malaria control and elimination, the IOM warns. The organization promotes efforts to tackle one of the oldest, yet most pervasive public health threats of our time.

On World Malaria Day (April 25), The IOM noted that, in 2016, "there were over 216 million cases of malaria globally, 445,000 malaria-related deaths, and USD 2.7 billion invested in prevention, treatment and elimination of the disease. Africa contributes to nearly 90 percent of the global burden of malaria." 

Migration 'can pose challenges to malaria control' 

"In the world today, an unprecedented number of people are on the move and migration can pose challenges to malaria control and elimination. However, we have the tools to beat malaria - and we will - with the partnership and action called for at the January meeting of African and world leaders in Addis Ababa," said Jacqueline Weekers, IOM's Director of Migration Health. 

The UN agency underscored that the movement "of individuals from higher to lower prevalence settings, or malaria-free areas, impact control efforts. Limited access to malaria prevention, including health education, and treatment before, during and after the migration process render migrants more vulnerable and impact progress to control, eliminate and eventually eradicate the disease." 

IOM initiatives against the disease 

''IOM currently supports malaria programmes across dozens of countries globally, often with the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In Yemen, Thailand and Somalia, IOM has implemented multi-pronged evidence based public health strategies including interventions around vector control, distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (LLIN) and behavior change communication campaigns to raise awareness around prevention and encourage treatment seeking, including drug compliance,'' the organization noted. 

''Strengthening community responses that address the determinant's of migrants' health to building sustainable and population mobility sensitive health systems are key to addressing the pervasive challenges of malaria control,'' it stressed.

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