Australia to host Malaria 2012: Saving lives in the Asia-Pacific
13 July, 2012
2011 Malaria Survey team check houses for mosquito nets in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Photo: Jeremy Miller / AusAID
Dalton Hilly gets tested for malaria by nurse Patteson Riumono during the 2011 Malaria Survey, Solomon Islands. Photo: Jeremy Miller / AusAID
Senator Bob Carr has announced that Australia will host a high-level malaria conference Malaria 2012: Saving Lives in the Asia-Pacific, from 31 October to 2 November in Sydney, to work with regional partners in the Asia-Pacific to combat malaria. The conference will bring together representatives of regional governments, international donors, the business sector and non-government organisations. It will culminate in a ministerial level meeting hosted by Senator Carr and the UN Special Envoy for Malaria, Mr Ray Chambers.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease that causes enormous human suffering and hundreds of thousands of deaths globally. It is caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Malaria is both preventable and treatable.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 200 million malaria cases globally each year, with more than 30 million cases and 42,000 lives lost in the Asia-Pacific region alone. More than 90 per cent of these deaths were in India, Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. However, international travellers from malaria-free areas, such as Australia, are also at risk of the disease because we lack immunity.
The burden of malaria falls heavily on the poor. It leaves many unable to work and care for their families. It also has an economic impact costing countries significant resources to treat and prevent the disease, straining under-resourced health systems and slowing economic and social development overall.
Great progress has been made in controlling malaria over the past decade, but these gains are now threatened by the emergence of drug resistance in the region. Failure to act quickly and address this issue could trigger a global surge in malaria cases and deaths, and undermine gains made to date.
The Malaria 2012 conference aims to strengthen regional political commitment and responses to malaria in order to reduce the number of deaths in our region from malaria.
Australia is actively supporting malaria control and elimination initiatives in Asia and the Pacific region.
- Australia recently led an assessment of responses to drug resistant malaria in the Mekong region, in partnership with the WHO, other donors and partner countries, which is informing the regional response.
- Australia directly supports the Asia-Pacific Malaria Elimination Network to develop the capacity of countries to control and where feasible eliminate malaria.
- Our investments have provided direct interventions, saving people’s lives, including through the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets in Asia and the Pacific.
- Since 2003, our investments have helped to reduce malaria cases by 70 per cent in the Solomon Islands and 85 per cent in Vanuatu through prevention and treatment measures such as bed nets and effective malaria drugs.
- Australia’s malaria support includes funding to WHO to reduce regional vulnerability to malaria and the Global Fund, which provides two-thirds of all international funding for malaria initiatives.
- Many of our academic institutions have world-leading expertise in malaria research and established links with countries and other research institutions in the region.
Last Reviewed: 10 September, 2012