Latin America contributes 1-1.2 million clinical malaria cases to the global malaria burden of about 300 million per year. In 21 malaria endemic countries, the population at risk in this region represents less than 10% of the total population exposed worldwide. Factors such as rapid deforestation, inadequate agricultural practices, climate change, political instability, and both increasing parasite drug resistance and vector resistance to insecticides contribute to malaria transmission. Recently, several malaria endemic countries have experienced a significant reduction in numbers of malaria cases. This is most likely due to actions taken by National Malaria Control Programs (NMCP) with the support from international funding agencies. We describe here the research strategies and activities to be undertaken by the Centro Latino Americano de Investigación en Malaria (CLAIM), a new research center established for the non-Amazonian region of Latin America by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Throughout a network of countries in the region, initially including Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, and Peru, CLAIM will address major gaps in our understanding of changing malaria epidemiology, vector biology and control, and clinical malaria mainly due to Plasmodium vivax. In close partnership with NMCPs, CLAIM seeks to conduct research on how and why malaria is decreasing in many countries of the region as a basis for developing and implementing new strategies that will accelerate malaria elimination.
The complete and effective collection of data of malaria cases is essential to formulate operative plans, as well as to develop and apply policies for its prevention and control. However, in Colombia, not all of the identified cases are notified nor incorporated into the surveillance system. This underreport represents a serious problem for decision makers.
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