According to The Nation, one of Thailand’s multimedia channels, there are an increasing number of patients ‘for whom the most recent drug against the malaria parasite – Artemisinin – has failed. Artemisinin is usually used in combination with other anti-malarial drugs, such as mafloquine’.

It would appear that the main factors contributing to the increase in resistance include the patients refusal to go for follow up visits where additional jabs can be administered. It is ‘also due to the increase in counterfeit or sub-standard anti-malaria drugs, usually made in India or China, in the remote border regions of Myanmar and Cambodia’.

‘The fear is that these artemisinin-resistant malarial strains will migrate across Myanmar to India and eventually Africa, which accounts for about 90 per cent of the world’s annual death toll of 650,000 malaria victims.

“Our country is the gateway for the spread of drug-resistant parasites westward, down to Africa,” said Saw Lwin, deputy director-general of Maynmar’s Health Department.

“If we can’t contain the problem at the source of the infection, it can spread to other regions, so this is a global issue,” he told a recent seminar in Kanchanaburi.

The issue of artemisinin-resistant malaria is expected to be a key focal point at the Malaria 2012 ministerial meeting to be held in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday to Friday’. Source The Nation, 30th October 2012

It does appear that this is a location where the Global Fund and Roll Back Malaria should invest more and time and effort, particularly as the vector-borne disease is now spreading more widely and quickly across this part of Asia.