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Fighting the New Spike Of Malaria in the Philippines

Malaria in the PhilippinesThe Philippines is familiar with the problem of malaria. In 1970, the country’s malaria morbidity rate per 100,000 people was nearly 80%. The mosquitoes that transmit the parasitic disease extend all across the nation. With the devastation that the Philippines faced, its government became very committed to limiting and reducing the damage caused by the disease.

Success in Malaria Reduction

One of the many ways the Philippines fought malaria was through an increase in surveillance systems, working toward finding specific malaria outbreaks to target with boosted treatments. The government’s actions were extremely successful. In 2005, the Philippines achieved a reduction rate of 92% in cases and a decrease in the malaria mortality rate by 98%. Additionally, around 60.9% of the country’s provinces were officially declared malaria-free in 2018.

Leveraging Digital Technology

By employing new digital technology, specifically its Online Malaria Information System, the Philippines is able to catalog, process and distribute information on malaria outbreaks. This allows for speedy treatment and prediction of future outbreaks by monitoring reports made by locals. This system is available to everyone on Android, so it is very accessible to the Filipino people.

Current Challenges and Advanced Strategies

Due to significant humanitarian aid and government infrastructure expansion, the Philippines experienced a general decline in malaria cases. However, in 2023, the country saw a sharp increase in cases, about 6,248, nearly doubling from the previous year, which was 3,245. Many health professionals attribute this rise to the relaxation of restrictions in the post-COVID-19 world. Nonetheless, new health centers are now focused on eliminating and preventing the spread of malaria.

Filipino health centers collect data on patients and the environment to monitor potential malaria outbreaks. Quick identification leads to quick treatment and with sufficient treatment, the Philippines aims to be entirely malaria-free by 2030. The approach is more complex than merely distributing surveys or looking for common symptoms.

The health centers are exploring advanced diagnostic and geographical mapping tools, improved surveillance technology and the identification of less common and often overlooked symptoms of malaria. With better diagnostic tools, medical professionals can assess patients more quickly and determine which strain of malaria is affecting them, enabling faster and more effective treatment.

The geographical mapping tools allow people to monitor the spread of outbreaks, see where the infected mosquitoes are moving and act proactively against the disease. As the World Health Organization (WHO) advises, surveillance is one of the best ways to prevent and combat malaria, so the Philippines is looking to improve its preexisting system to fight this current wave of malaria.


Malaria is one of the most notorious and dangerous diseases and humanity has been fighting it for decades. The Philippines, in particular, has a long and difficult history with malaria but has developed effective systems to combat it. The Filipinos’ active efforts to reduce malaria in their country offer hope for a malaria-free world, evidenced by the 72 provinces that are now officially malaria-free.

Another promising development in the fight against recent malaria outbreaks is the emergence of new vaccines that provide immunity against various strains of the life-threatening disease. With a vaccine in the works and new health centers being established, the Philippines is optimistic about seeing a reduction in malaria cases soon.

– Paige Tamasi

Paige is based in Los Gatos, CA, USA and focuses on Global Health and Politics for The Borgen Project.

Photo: Unsplash