East Asia leaders agree to collective action on malaria
21 November, 2012
Prime Minister Julia Gillard meets with world leaders at the East Asia Summit. Photo: Prime Minister's Office
East Asian leaders have agreed to strengthen regional collaboration to accelerate the fight against malaria and overcome the emergence of drug-resistant strains of the disease.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, speaking in Phnom Penh at the East Asia Summit, committed $1 million to support the establishment of an Asia-Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance.
Prime Minister Gillard said the Alliance will promote regional political leadership and collaboration on combating malaria.
'Australian funding is expected to support the establishment of task forces to explore options to meet financing gaps and improve access to antimalarial medicines and technologies. The Alliance will also identify key research and development priorities,' she said.
Malaria, a wholly preventable and treatable disease, killed more than 42,000 people in the Asia-Pacific in 2010 and causes more than 650,000 deaths worldwide every year.
The emergence of drug-resistant malaria is a serious threat to regional and global efforts to combat this public health challenge.
On 20 November at the East Asia Summit, an Australian initiated declaration was adopted by leaders of the region, committing countries to working collaboratively to address malaria control and resistance to antimalarial medicines. The Alliance will assist the implementation of this commitment.
The Alliance will also build on the agreement reached by Asia-Pacific regional leaders at the recent Malaria 2012 conference in Sydney to strengthen and coordinate the regional response to the disease.
United States President Barack Obama gave his support to Australia’s declaration on drug-resistant malaria and committed to supporting Thailand’s efforts to strengthen malaria control and surveillance, particularly among migrant populations along its borders with Myanmar and Cambodia, where drug-resistant malaria is most prevalent.
Australia has already committed more than $100 million in funding over the next four years to help reduce death and illness from malaria in the Asia-Pacific region. The funding includes:
- An estimated $9.5 million through the Three Millennium Development Goals (3MDG) Fund in Myanmar to buy bed nets and to purchase drugs to treat children and their families.
- $25 million to Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea to help local clinics to roll out testing kits for more accurate diagnosis of the disease, community awareness campaigns and insecticide spraying.
- $5 million for the World Health Organization to address drug-resistant malaria in the Mekong region.
- $10 million for malaria research as part of the new AusAID Medical Research Strategy.
Last Reviewed: 21 November, 2012