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Asia-Pacific Countries Form Alliance To Reduce Malaria

“Asia-Pacific leaders gathered in Brunei for the East Asia Summit on Friday endorsed the creation of an alliance to combat malaria” focused on reducing deaths and infections and preventing the spread of drug-resistant malaria, the Wall Street Journal’s “Southeast Asia Real Time” blog reports. “The Asia-Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance, or APLMA, will initially include Australia, Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam,” with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) acting as secretariat, the blog notes. “Malaria — particularly the emergence of artemisinin-resistant malaria — is a major development challenge, requiring strengthened regional collaboration, sustainable solutions and predictable financing,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in a statement, according to the blog.

Though “the number of reported deaths in the region has actually declined over the past decade, compared to Africa, where they remain elevated,” “increased population movements, low quality and counterfeit anti-malarial medicine, and climate change exacerbate the region’s vulnerability, noted the ADB,” the blog reports. ADB “estimates that at least $400 million is needed between 2013 and 2015 to step up efforts to contain artemisinin-resistant forms of malaria,” the blog adds (Larano, 10/11). ABC Radio Australia reports that Patricia Moser, lead health specialist for the Regional Sustainable Development Department at ADB, said, “[A]s programs are successful … sometimes it’s easy for countries to start looking at other priorities or to move the attention away from malaria. We think it’s really important that attention be maintained on malaria,” according to a transcript (10/11).