A national conference was held in Hanoi on May 13, focusing on sustainable investment for fighting malaria.

Co-hosted by the Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organisation, the event was attended by representatives from relevant agencies and international organisations in Vietnam.

Recent unofficial statistics show that there are 15 million Vietnamese people living in malaria-impacted areas, and treatment drug resistance was recorded in five provinces across the country.

According to Director of the National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology Tran Thanh Duong, the State budget for malaria prevention was about 100 billion VND (4.6 million USD) each year from 2010 to 2013, helping provide mosquito-repellent and medicine to millions of people.

Through the tireless efforts made by ministries, sectors and localities and the support from the Government, the number of malaria cases reduced remarkably from 155 cases per 10,000 people in 1991 to only three per 10,000 in 2014. The malaria mortality rate also saw a strong decrease with only six deaths reported in 2014.

However, the country still records nearly 30,000 incidences of malaria annually, including about 110 patients with malignant malaria.

Last year, the State budget sources funnelled into disease prevention decreased by half and grants from international organisations have been cut, posing challenges to the country’s target of full elimination of malaria.

Additionally, the number and quality of personnel operating in the field has yet to meet demand, especially in remote areas.

Foreign representatives warned that the disease is likely to break out again if preventive measures are not implemented drastically and the investment for the work is neglected.

Vietnam hopes to eradicate malaria by 2030. From 2011-2020, the country aims to offer universal access to early-diagnosis and timely and effective malaria treatment at public and private medical establishments while providing vulnerable communities with prevention methods.-VNA