Supporting the National Malaria Control Program of Papua New Guinea

Team in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a highly malaria endemic country in the South-West Pacific. Since 2004, the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), a multi-stakeholder partnership of the PNG government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, has been financed largely with grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  

In February 2015, the Global Fund and partners in PNG signed a new malaria grant agreement to continue the distribution of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN) and provide access to care through home-based management of malaria.

The Global Fund support is evaluated independently by the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNG IMR), in collaboration with the University of Queensland, the Walter + Eliza Hall Institute, Swiss TPH and local partners in PNG. An operational research program complements this evaluation.

Malaria prevalence in PNG in 2009

A malaria indicator survey conducted in 2009 measured the population prevalence of malaria across PNG. In 12% of the population, malaria parasites were found by light microscopy; P. falciparum was more common than P. vivax. Mosquito net use was associated with reduced odds of infection, as reported in the journal Tropical Medicine & International Health.

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Poor quality antimalarials

A survey of formal health facilities found poor-quality antimalarial drugs across Papua New Guinea. Most primaquine tablets (an antimalarial used mainly to treat Plasmodium vivax malaria) found on the shelves were of very poor quality. Results were recently published in PLOS ONE.

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Insecticide-treated wall-lining

Insecticide-treated plastic sheeting targets mosquitoes resting on the inside walls of houses, representing a new vector control tool. A study by PNG IMR and collaborators found treated wall lining to be feasible and acceptable in a diverse range of PNG contexts. The study results wee published in the Malaria Journal.

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Text-message reminders

The new malaria treatment protocol requires health workers to substantially change their malaria case management practice. One-off trainings are unlikely to be sufficient to induce the required change and regular longer-term support may be required. A study in the PNG Highlands and published recently in PLOS ONE found that a text message reminder service may be a way to improve adherence to treatment guidelines.

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