Scientific writing workshop on malaria and migration in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region will be held on Mar 30-Apr 3, 2015 , Shanghai, P.R. China

The GMS is developing at an exponential rate. With a rapidly growing population that is becoming increasingly mobile, the region is facing multitudinous challenges in the control of communicable diseases both within and across its borders. Indeed, the number of people from the East Asia and Pacific region living outside their countries of origin has increased by nearly 60% over the past 14 years (2000–2013), and, owing to the wide disparities in incomes across countries in the region, intraregional people mobility is even higher. Population mobility is a serious challenge to malaria elimination in the GMS requiring an inter-sectoral approach.

Migrants are not necessarily in very remote areas, nor excluded, “Recognizing mobility as a system involving multiple demographic groups, localities and intersecting socio-economic processes” is proving increasingly important. Increased global air travel may increase the risk of malaria importation. For example, China is experiencing frequent importation of Pf from Africa, and travel between Africa and the capital cities of Southeast Asia is also increasing. In a containment perspective, two problems at present are: Rohingyas from western Myanmar, who are migrating to other countries including Bangladesh, possibly to malaria risk areas, and; peacekeeping forces being deployed in Africa as well as military training visits and exchanges.

The emergence of artemisinin resistance in the Greater Mekong Sub-region will have catastrophic consequences if the problem is not contained and eliminated. WHO launched the Global Plan for Artemisinin Resistance Containment (GPARC) and the Framework for Emergency Response to Artemisinin Resistance (ERAR). The WHO ERAR has a distinct objective (Objective 3) to address issues on mobile and migrant populations. The WHO ERAR project has completed a review of the current malaria situation across the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and within each of the six GMS countries from the perspective of migration. It considers the unique situation of each country and the common challenges to the region. Current responses and gaps are identified and recommendations for future actions are clearly outlined.     

Countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion are undertaking a new regional initiative with the goal of eliminating malaria in the GMs by 2030. This entails among others, eliminating multidrug resistance and preventing its spread regionally and globally; further reducing malaria-specific mortality and morbidity in GMS countries and territories where elimination does not appear to be feasible at present; preventing the re-emergence of malaria transmission due to importation in countries and territories where it had been eliminated where priorities at the regional level would be eliminating malaria in the border areas with multidrug resistance areas; and measures targeting certain mobile populations identified by local analysis.

Towards these efforts, a scientific writing workshop on malaria and migration in the GMS countries is proposed. This will establish a pool of resource persons in each of the countries, both within malaria program, academia and relevant institutions who will provide not just data and information on current trends of malaria and migration in their respective countries but also country and regional perspectives on migration, labour protection policies and programmes for health development in border areas and solutions to address the problems faced. This work will take into account and build upon the WHO/IOM framework on migrant health, the report of the 2010 Madrid consultation and other developments since WHA resolution 61.17; Efforts by civil society groups in the Region as well as by relevant intergovernmental mechanisms (e.g. ASEAN, JUNIMA, ICRC, etc.); Outcomes of the 2013 Healthy Borders Meeting, including the evidence collected in its background papers.

The main outcome of this worksop will be a publication as a special series issue in Infectious Diseases of Poverty in the latter half of 2015.Infectious Diseases of Poverty ( ) is an open access, peer-reviewed journal publishing topic areas and methods that address essential public health questions relating to infectious diseases of poverty. These include various aspects of the biology of pathogens and vectors, diagnosis and detection, treatment and case management, epidemiology and modeling, zoonotic hosts and animal reservoirs, control strategies and implementation, new technologies and application. Transdisciplinary or multisectoral effects on health systems, ecohealth, environmental management, and innovative technology are also considered.

Workshop Objectives

General objective:

The main purpose of the workshop is to facilitate improvement of the research scientists’ skills in documentation and sharing of research findings in the field of malaria epidemiology in the GMS countries, which includes Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, through: (i) strengthening scientific communication capabilities of both malaria program technical persons, health and research scientists, (ii) encouraging and promoting a culture of scientific publishing among the researchers, and (iii) sharing experiences on problems encountered by researchers in publishing their research.

Specific objectives:

  1. Exposing the participants to skills in scientific writing and publication for various audiences, and improving the regional capacity on synthesizing evidences to support policy makers in GMS countries.
  2. Learning the approaches on analyzing the structure of a scientific research paper, planning the writing process, observing style and ethics in scientific writing, correctly citing bibliographic references, and presenting research results.
  3. Learning the approaches on data handling, where possible, to use participants’ own ready-to-publish data, or to use data/information which they can develop into publishable manuscripts during the workshop and thereafter.
  4. Conducting a capacity needs assessment of the workshop participants and establishment of their actual training needs.

Expected outputs:

  1. Review of the available literature on both country and region-specific issues, needs and gaps with regards to, broadly, the health of migrants and specifically, migration and malaria in the GMS countries.
  2. Synthesis and analysis of current policies, good practices and lessons learned on the health of migrants, relevant policy options and priorities for action, with a specific focus on the accessibility to health services with regards to malaria.
  3. Achieve consensus on the context and content of the proposed publication series.
  4. Standardization of the chapter outlines for each country, headings, data, and presentation formats etc.

Expected outcomes:

A road map for completion of a first draft, including further consultations with key informants individual country of origin, review and standard operating procedures for publication as a special series issue in Infectious Diseases of Poverty by May/June 2015.

Requirement of participants:

A maximum of 3 participants from each country will be invited which should include:

  1. national malaria program manager
  2. technical officer from the national malaria program in charge of data and information systems with knowledge of IT, statistics and mapping
  3. researcher from reputable national academia with documented interest (publications, research) in migration and malaria issues.