LABUAN: Labuan has managed to maintain the status of zero cases of indigenous human malaria since 2017, said its Health Department director, Dr Ismuni Bohari.
He said that the status had been successfully maintained throughout 2018 until April this year.
“The success of maintaining zero malaria since 2017 must be continued, to support the government’s efforts to obtain Malaria Elimination Certification from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2021,” he said in conjunction with World Malaria Day celebrations at Kampung Bebuloh Laut on Sunday.
He said that although Labuan had achieved this, zoonotic malaria caused by monkeys was still being reported, and the general public was still exposed to the risk of imported malaria cases from foreign countries.
“In 2017, only one case of local malaria was reported involving zoonotic malaria infection in Kampung Bebuloh.
“For the record, we have successfully undergone three of the four phases under the National Malaria Eradication Programme, namely the control phase, pre-eradication phase and eradication phase.
He said Labuan was currently in the phase of preventing the re-entry (re-introduction) of local malaria infection.
“The role of malaria prevention in the re-introduction phase of local malaria infection cannot be shouldered by the Ministry of Health (MOH) alone,” he said.
Dr Ismuni said that the main focus in this phase required the involvement of other agencies and the community, through the Public Health Intelligence approach to obtain information on populations at risk for malaria re-transmission.
“Malaria can be prevented and treated. If we can detect and control this malaria infection fast and early with malaria surveillance activity strategy, as well as with cooperation from the community. We can maintain the zero status of local human malaria cases in Labuan,” he said. – Bernama