Published: October 11, 2022
Robinson LJ, Laman M, Makita L, Lek D, Dori A, Farquhar R, Vantaux A, Witkowski B, Karl S, Mueller I. Asia-Pacific International Center of Excellence in Malaria Research: Maximizing Impact on Malaria Control Policy and Public Health in Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2022 Oct 11;107(4_Suppl):124-130. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.21-1324. PMID: 36228920.
The Asia-Pacific International Center of Excellence in Malaria Research (ICEMR) was funded in 2016 to conduct a coordinated set of field and in-depth biological studies in Cambodia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), in sites that span the range of transmission intensities currently found in the Asia-Pacific regions. The overall objective is to gain an understanding of key parasite, human host, and vector factors involved in maintaining transmission in the face of intensified control and elimination programs, and to develop novel approaches to identify and target residual transmission foci. In this article, we will describe how the ICEMR program was designed to address key knowledge gaps and priority areas for the malaria control programs in each country. In PNG, partners have worked together on two consecutive ICEMR grants (2009-2016 and 2017-2024) and we present a case study of the partnership and engagement approach that has led to stronger coordination of research activities and integration with program, informing country-level strategic planning and prioritization of control activities. In both settings, the ICEMR program has generated insights into transmission foci, risk factors for ongoing transmission, highlighting the hidden burden of vivax malaria, and the need for additional complementary vector control tools. Finally, we will summarize the emerging research questions and priority areas-namely surveillance, vivax malaria, new vector control tools, and community/health systems-oriented approaches-where further tool development and implementation research have been identified as being needed to guide policy.