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Australia commits $18 million vs malaria in Asia Pacific

The Australian Government has committed $18 million to a new fund to combat malaria in the Asia Pacific region.

The new Regional Malaria and Other Communicable Disease Threats Trust Fund, established by the Asian Development Bank, will support regional cooperation to tackle malaria, a preventable disease with very high social and economic costs.

The fund will focus on supporting efforts to contain the spread of drug resistant strains of malaria, an enormous challenge in the Mekong sub-region. Its potential spread beyond the region could unwind the significant progress made to date in reducing malaria illness and deaths, costing billions of dollars.

It will also provide financing for innovative programs to assist malaria-affected countries in the Asia Pacific to achieve their national malaria reduction targets. The trust fund will leverage financing from countries in the region, the private sector and other donors.

Today’s announcement builds on the work of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), a joint initiative of the Prime Ministers of Australia and Vietnam to provide the high-level leadership necessary to tackle malaria and reduce malaria cases and deaths by 75 per cent by 2015.

These initiatives will expand the fight against malaria beyond the health sector into key industries such as trade, transportation, agriculture, mining and forestry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there were 28 million new cases and 45,500 deaths from malaria in the Asia Pacific in 2012.