Bản in : Asia-Pacific leaders form alliance to combat malaria

Leaders at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Brunei on October 11 endorsed the creation of an Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) to unite countries and promote regional political leadership and collaboration against the disease.

The APLMA’s initial members include the Heads of Government from Australia, Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Australia and Vietnam will act as APLMA co-chairs.

As Secretariat, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will support the co-chairs in advocacy, reviewing regional progress, convening regional meetings, and achieving results through APLMA’s two taskforces on finance and access to quality medicines and other technologies.

APLMA aims to reduce malaria cases and deaths by 75 percent by 2015 and to contain the spread of drug resistant forms of the parasite by expanding the fight against the illness beyond the health sector into the arenas of regional trade, transportation, migration, and rural industries such as agriculture, mining and forestry.

According to ADB President Takehiko Nakao, beyond its human toll, malaria’s social and economic costs are devastating in countries where the disease is endemic.

Malaria, particularly the emergence of artemisinin resistant malaria, is a major development challenge, requiring strengthened regional collaboration, sustainable solutions and predictable financing, he added.

The Regional Financing Taskforce will examine options for sustainable funding mechanisms to ensure that financing for the fight against malaria remains strong until transmission of the parasite is eliminated.

Meanwhile, the Improving Access to Quality Medicines and Other Technologies Taskforce will work to increase regional production and access to quality medicines, and reduce the availability and use of the low-quality and incorrectly formulated anti-malarial medicines that increase risks of drug resistance.

Increased population movements, rampant availability of low quality and counterfeit antimalarial medicines, and climate change exacerbate the region’s vulnerability to malaria, which remains a major cause of death and illness in Asia and the Pacific, with an estimated 36 million cases and around 49,000 deaths annually.-VNA

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