Joint Press Release | 26 April 2021

A malaria-free Philippines by 2030 - this is the Government’s target in the National Malaria Control and Elimination Program (NMCEP). As the country joins in the global celebration of World Malaria Day 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) and its partners called for renewed support to the program with the need to make up for the lost time during the pandemic and remain on track with the 2030 target.

Malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted by a bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Once the parasite gains access inside the human body it infects, it will induce the symptoms like fever, headache, and chills, which if left unmanaged, can progress to severe illness that can lead to death. Malaria, however, is curable and treatment is free. Preventive and treatment services are being delivered by 3,166 public health facilities nationwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) global malaria report, the Western Pacific Region had an estimated 1.7 million cases in 2019 with 52% reduction in the number of deaths in about 2 decades.

The Philippines has also significantly reduced the incidence of malaria by 87% from 48,569 in 2003 to 6,120 cases in 2020, and has also reported a 98% reduction in the number of mortality due to malaria, from 162 deaths in 2003 to 3 deaths in 2020.

Along with this is the shrinking geographic extent of malaria, with 60 provinces officially declared by the DOH as malaria-free, and an additional 19 provinces having reached malaria elimination phase with zero local transmission, waiting to be assessed and declared malaria-free provinces. At the end of 2020, only 126 barangays from 2 provinces in the country have recorded local malaria transmission.

Celebrating World Malaria Day 2021 with the theme “Reaching the Zero Malaria Target”, DOH, with the support of Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI) and WHO Philippines, is launching new digital tools that will complement the malaria elimination strategy. One of these is the Malaria Program Website which will serve as a knowledge platform which will be publicly available. Another tool is the Online Malaria Information System (OLMIS), a web-based, real-time recording and reporting system which shall be the main data generating tool for surveillance, and for monitoring and evaluation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the delivery of services under our malaria elimination program, but this will not deter us from our vision of a malaria-free country. We, at the Department of Health, reaffirm our commitment to eradicate malaria. I also urge everyone and every LGUs to continue your fight against malaria through preventive and case management measures,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.