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The Mekong region has made considerable progress in reducing the burden of malaria. Between 1990 and 2012, annual malaria deaths dropped by 95% and the number of  confirmed cases declined by 60%.

Malaria control in the region is challenged by high internal and cross-border migration due to economic opportunities. Mobile and migrant laborers often lack access to health services available to the general population as many live and work in remote areas with little health infrastructure, while others are discouraged from seeking medical attention due to lack of legal status or language barriers. When they return to their home communities where malaria is less common, they can inadvertently become a reservoir for disease transmission (e.g. malaria or other infectious disease). Adding urgency is the emergence of artemisinin-resistant malaria which could undermine malaria control efforts.

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