Professor Beg (left) and a government official represent Pakistan at the senior officials meeting of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance in Thailand.
Professor Asim Beg is set to play a leading role in advancing research, policymaking and capacity building initiatives to eradicate malaria from Pakistan.
Professor Beg, will lead the University’s partnership with the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) – a regional expert group spanning 22 countries – committed to eliminating the mosquito-borne illness in line with targets under goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Pakistan is one of five countries that account for 95 per cent of global cases of malaria, according to the World Health Organization, and government statistics state that six out of ten people in the country are at high risk of contracting the preventable disease.
His work with the federal government will see him cooperate with public health authorities in Afghanistan and Iran – neighbouring high-burden countries – on a regional malaria elimination drive.
Meanwhile, the partnership with APMEN will see Professor Beg, a veteran researcher in parasitology and a consultant parasitologist, launch collaborative research projects in significant areas such as trends in drug and insecticide resistance, initiatives to advance treatment through clinical trials, biomedical research into the disease, and the use of research insights to enhance patient outcomes.
These initiatives will facilitate the sharing of expertise between researchers from different countries and lead to the generation of knowledge that enables each country to achieve its anti-malaria targets.
“Malaria is preventable and treatable and was eliminated in many countries decades ago,” said Professor Beg. “There are still a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Asia Pacific with a heavy burden of the disease. Regional and national partnerships represent an effective way to eradicate these remaining hubs of the disease.”
Professor Beg heads the Malaria and Parasitic Diseases research group at AKU, which brings together faculty from different parts of the University, and promotes research with public and private sector partners like Oxford University - MORU, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Australia’s Menzies School of Public Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Pakistan’s Malaria Control Programme.