Modelling the last mile to elimination: learning from China's successes to inform malaria elimination in the Asia-Pacific

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picture of malaria test

This is one of two projects studying malaria transmission in Asia-pacific countries. The University of Melbourne is the home institution for this project. To view the SJTU-based partner project, click here.

This project aims to identify key reasons for successful malaria elimination in China and investigate their potential to assist other Asia-Pacific countries in eliminating malaria.

The main objectives of this project are to:

  • Develop Spatio-temporal statistical and mathematical models for investigating very low-level malaria transmission
  • Apply these models to extensive historical databases to investigate key factors contributing to the successful malaria elimination in China
  • Develop models to investigate the potential of surveillance & response intervention in other malaria-endemic areas in the Asia Pacific (e.g. Cambodia, Indonesia and/or the Solomon Islands.

The details

From 30 million cases 70 years ago to zero cases today, China's long road towards malaria elimination was hard-earned and made possible through the many successful malaria intervention programs the country had implemented.

One program is the famous "1-3-7" malaria surveillance and response strategy. Under the strategy, health facilities have a 1-day deadline to report a case of malaria, which must be followed up by health authorities within 3-days. Within 7 days of identifying an outbreak, authorities must have taken appropriate action to combat the spread of the disease.

This project aims to investigate whether intervention methods like the "1-3-7" strategy can be effectively exported to other Asia-Pacific countries to achieve the same impact.

Researchers will first identify which interventions had the greatest success by reviewing and analysing historical databases. These include case data, data on local interventions as well as molecular and serological data collected in the Chinese province of Yunnan pre- (2005 - 2010) and post-launch of the National Malaria Elimination Program (2011 - 2016).

They will then apply existing mathematical models of malaria transmission to this data and quantify the effectiveness of China's various malaria intervention strategies.

Finally, these models will be adapted to estimate the feasibility of implementing the "1-3-7" strategy and similar programs in other Asia-Pacific countries.

Supervision team

University of Melbourne supervisor:
Professor Ivo Mueller

Shanghai Jiao Tong University supervisor:
Professor Xiao-Nong Zhou

Other joint PhD projects