Vysnova Supports Enhancing Civilian-Military Cooperation
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Vysnova Supports Enhancing Civilian-Military Cooperation to Accelerate Malaria Elimination in Southeast Asia

The Heads of State from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member nations stated their commitment to an “Asia Pacific free of Malaria by 2030” at the 9th East Asia Summit – which was sponsored by Vysnova Partners. This mandate for a malaria-free Asia Pacific creates an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen ties between civilian and military health systems and regional militaries.

On June 26-28, 2017, the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Science (AFRIMS) organized a meeting titled: “Enhancing Civilian-Military Cooperation to Accelerate Malaria Elimination in Southeast Asia” in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting brought together the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Health (MoH) malaria officials from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and the United States.

Vysnova’s Dr. Sara Canavati was actively involved in the MoH and MoD delegations from Vietnam. During the event, Dr. Canavati facilitated group discussions and found items in which the MoH and MoD could work together on malaria elimination activities, including surveillance, case management and advocacy.

Since malaria is a common problem in the military, and since malaria does not know borders, regional collaborations involving all affected populations are important to achieve malaria elimination. The meeting was instrumental for reviewing existing military and civilian national malaria collaborations, identifying and prioritizing key areas of mutual military-civilian interest and discussing ways in which regional militaries can assist national malaria elimination goals.

Three action points on how the civilian and military sectors can more effectively collaborate to achieve elimination in four areas of mutual interest (Case Detection and Management and Disease Prevention; Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation; Operational Research/Training and Advocacy) were identified and documented by meeting attendees through a breakout team format.

Advocacy for malaria elimination was the theme that military attendees found most challenging due to the hierarchical structure of the military. Among several presentations, East Africa Malaria Task Force and Experiences from African Military Medical Departments were shared to serve as an example of military-advocacy.

Financing was another key barrier identified. The chair of the regional steering committee (RSC) for the Global Fund, Prof Arjen Dondorp and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFTAM) Geneva assured their support and commitment to finance military operations for malaria elimination in South East Asia. This was a historical achievement as this will be the first time ever the GFTAM finances the military for malaria elimination.

One significant outcome of the meeting is that the military will now be represented in the RSC for the Global Fund “Regional Artemisinin-resistance Initiative 2 Elimination (RAI2E)” malaria grant.

Vysnova’s Dr. Sara Canavati with officials from MoD and MoH from Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam at a visit of the Phayathai Palace in Bangkok after an intensive meeting at AFRIMS.

Vysnova’s Dr. Sara Canavati with officials from MoD and MoH from Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam at a visit of the Phayathai Palace in Bangkok after an intensive meeting at AFRIMS.