AsianScientist (Nov. 2, 2012) – Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced that Australia will spend more than AU$100 million over the next four years to fund malaria programs in the Asia-Pacific region.
Senator Carr announced the funding at the Malaria2012: Saving Lives in the Asia Pacific conference in Sydney, where he is co-hosting the ministerial action meeting with the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were over 30 million malaria cases and around 42,000 deaths in the Asia-Pacific region in 2010.
Many of these deaths are caused by resistance to malaria drugs, which is caused by giving of the wrong treatment, patients not completing their treatments, and the manufacture and use of substandard drugs.
While most loss of life happens in Africa, 64 percent of the Asia-Pacific population is exposed to malaria.
Australia’s funding includes $14.5 million to address drug resistant malaria control and elimination activities in the Mekong river, which runs through Tibet, China’s Yunnan province, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It will invest $20 million in malaria programs in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.
Under the aid program’s new Medical Research Strategy, Australia will also provide $10 million for malaria research as the first investment.
“The disease impacts disproportionately on the poor and has major economic and development implications,” Senator Carr said. “We have committed as a region to reduce deaths and cases of malaria by 75 percent, and to contribute to the goal of near zero deaths globally.”
Senator Carr recently announced the appointment of Mr. James Gilling as Australia’s Ambassador for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Source: Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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