Guest editors: Kazim Hizbullah Sanikullah, Virak Khue, Somphou Syasone, Leo Braack, Ryosuke Fujita, Robert Bergquist, Xiao-Nong Zhou
The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) in Southeast Asia is home to over 70 million people and has long struggled with a high prevalence of tropical diseases, such as malaria, dengue, and the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These diseases not only have a strong impact on human health and wellbeing, but also impede economic development and locks poverty and disease into a perpetual vicious circle. Recognizing the need for coordinated cross-border collaboration to effectively combat these diseases, the GMS countries (Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) jointly launched the Regional Development Strategy and Program in the late 1990s. A key focus has been to develop and strengthen a collective action against tropical diseases resulting in collaborative research projects on strategies for tropical diseases control and elimination.
This initiative have been coordinated among scientists from GMS countries during last decades and the GMS countries have made important progress in disease prevention, surveillance, diagnosis and treatment by aligning policies, mobilizing financing, sharing technical expertise and implementing joint programming. Insecticide-treated bed nets have been rolled out, mass drug administration (MDA) conducted, access to diagnostic tests and quality medicines expanded and vector control targeted. This has promoted community awareness and health education, while cross-border teams have helped ensuring the continuity of care along porous borders. While challenges remain, such as risk for drug resistance, invasion of new vectors and pathogens, insufficient diagnostic tools, not quite cost-effective control and elimination strategies, etc. To address these challenges, this thematic series will call for submission focused on outcomes of collaborative research on the control and elimination of tropical diseases control among the GMS countries. We invite the submission of research articles focused in the challenges mentioned with the aim of building on the progress made thereby bringing the GMS countries closer to a vision of elimination of debilitating, communicable diseases.
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Kazim Hizbullah Sanikullah, Western Pacific Office, World Health Organization (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Virak Khue,National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, Ministry of Health, Cambodia (email@example.com)
Somphou Syasone, Laos Tropical and Public Health Institute, Lao PDR (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nguyen Manh Hung, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Vietnam (email@example.com)
Leo Braack, Malaria Consortium Asia, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ryosuke Fujita, Kyushu University, Japan (email@example.com)
Robert Bergquist, Sweden (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Xiao-Nong Zhou, National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (email@example.com)