(KPL) The Lao PDR Centre for Malaria, Parasitology, and Entomology’s (CMPE) 2016-2020 National Strategy to control and eliminate malaria, the fifth such strategy to eliminate malaria in Lao PDR, aims to eliminate and control malaria in northern and southern provinces where malaria can be found.
At the heart of the strategy is strengthening private sector participation with the government through the public-private mix (PPM) network, which includes private pharmacies and clinics in the malaria elimination effort by helping high-quality providers test for malaria and provide antimalarial drugs in target districts.
With investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Population Services International (PSI) Laos has cooperated with CMPE under the Ministry of Health’s Department of Communicable Disease Control’s (DCDC) direction to strengthen the public and private sector.
PSI Laos has trained pharmacies and clinics in the five southern provinces of Savannakhet, Saravan, Champassak, Attapeu, and Sekong, and follows up with providers to ensure high quality of testing and treating.
After project implementation, pharmacies and clinics who joined the network were able to effectively test and treat malaria cases, and contribute to overall case detection in the Lao PDR.
In 2017, PPM pharmacies and clinics tested 13,390 cases and treated 603 malaria cases, comprising 8% of the national number.
In 2018, the PPM network expanded its reach, administering 37,339 tests and treating 1,132 cases, 16% of all malaria cases found in the Lao PDR in 2018.
Based on these outstanding results, CMPE, with guidance from DCDC and the MOH, worked with PSI Laos and increased funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support expansion of the PPM project in strengthening the private sector for surveillance in high-malaria districts within the five northern provinces of Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Xayaboury, and Phongsaly.
The duration of the project will extend until 30th of December 2019.
On November 27th, 2018, Dr. Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh, Director General of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Communicable Disease Control and Mr. Eric Seastedt, Country Representative for PSI Laos, agreed to sign the memorandum of understanding for expansion of the PPM network project to the north.
The signing event at the Ministry of Health was attended by representatives of surrounding MOH departments, neighboring NGOs, and several local journalists.