Yesterday Sydney welcomed the launch of Malaria 2012: Saving Lives in the Asia-Pacific, hosted by AusAID. Between 31 October to 2 November, this regional summit sets out to accelerate progress in the Asia-Pacific region towards the global target of a 75 per cent reduction in malaria cases and deaths by 2015. It also aims to tackle drug resistant malaria by protecting the gains made to date in malaria control and elimination in the Asia-Pacific region by invigorating and sustaining the level of regional and international action in the Asia-Pacific region.
Malaria 2012 brings together representatives of countries from across the Asia-Pacific, international stakeholders, technical and donor institutions, representatives of the private sector, civil society and researchers over three days to explore regional challenges and possible solutions.
The meeting highlights the successes already made in the region and explores existing and new responses to the challenge of malaria control and elimination, including the dangers of emerging malaria drug resistance. Key themes include regional leadership and collaboration, meeting gaps in financing, improving access to quality medicines and commodities, and expanding coverage of key interventions that focus on the most vulnerable and at risk people.
Malaria 2012 will also seek to develop a consensus on priority issues and areas for action. A draft of the Consensus on Malaria Control and Elimination in the Asia-Pacific is available for consultation in the lead up to the conference. It identifies the key themes and proposed actions that will be explored during Malaria 2012. It is based on a synthesis of current knowledge and the recommendations agreed in March 2012 by partners of the ‘Joint Assessment of the Response to Artemisinin Resistance in the Greater Mekong Sub–region’.
Conference host AusAID was very pleased to welcome a high level delegation from the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership. RBM holds the vital role as the only coordinating mechanism for the address of malaria worldwide. During the first plenary session, Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director of the RBM Partnership, highlighted the important role of partnership to achieve effective regional coordination and cross-border collaboration, and address emerging resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). With 14% of global malaria cases and 7% of global deaths, the Asia-Pacific bears the largest burden of malaria outside of Africa.
The summit is also joined by Chair of the Global Fund, Mr Simon Bland and Director of External Relations, Dr Christoph Benn. The Global Fund stands as a significant actor in the address of malaria within the region, with the Global Fund providing approximately 50 per cent of international financing for malaria.
Tomorrow, Australian Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, will conclude the Summit by co-hosting a high level ministerial meeting to discuss the findings of the previous days.
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Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.