I am an epidemiologist working and completing my PhD in the Malaria Elimination Task Force (METF) group at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) in Mae Sot, Thailand. My PhD focuses on optimizing surveillance activities essential to achieving malaria elimination in Eastern Myanmar by:
- Determining the best method for monitoring progress towards elimination
- Analyzing space and time trends of P. falciparum and P.vivax over the duration of the program
- Determining expected rates in P. falciparum decline and ultimately identify areas where cases are not declining as expected
- Determining what factors influence malaria transmission dynamics in areas of persistent malaria, and
- Comparing the usefulness of targeted interventions when approaching elimination targets and tailoring interventions to different village characteristics and stages of elimination.
The METF program has made incredible progress in reducing P. falciparum incidence in a relatively short period. However, in order to achieve elimination goals, programs must remain vigilant, particularly under the threat of multidrug resistant parasites. Therefore, determining the best monitoring methods in this context and optimizing surveillance systems are essential to reaching malaria elimination targets.