Malaria 2012 conference launches
31 October, 2012
From left to right: Dr Shin Young-soo, Regional Director, Western Pacific Regional Office, World Health Organization; Professor Peter Siba, Director, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research; Dr Tenneth Dalipanda, Under Secretary Health, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Solomon Islands; Mr Peter Botten, Managing Dircetor, Oil Search Ltd; Ms Laisa Vereti, Programme Coordinator, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations. Photo: Matt Waugh.
Photo: Matt Waugh.
AusAID Director General Peter Baxter delivers the opening address at the Malaria 2012 conference. Photo: Matt Waugh.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has welcomed more than 300 delegates from over 30 countries and 134 organisations to Australia during the opening of the Malaria 2012: Saving Lives in the Asia-Pacific conference.
The video message from the Prime Minister and an opening address by AusAID Director General Peter Baxter launched the busy three-day program.
At the welcome reception on Tuesday evening, Australia’s ambassador for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria James Gilling spoke of the important decisions that delegates needed to make this week.
‘The conference aims to bring together experts, advocates and leaders to achieve the goals of reducing malaria and tackling artemisinin resistance in the region. It is also a demonstration of Australia as a willing partner, prepared to play its part in the fight,’ Mr Gilling said.
Day one of the conference, which is being compered by the ABC’s Tony Jones, began with video messages from Prime Minister Gillard and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Prime Minister Gillard, who was appointed co-chair of the United Nations MDG Advocacy Group in September, said that progress towards the goal of reducing malaria deaths is being challenged by drug resistance but that it was within the grasp of those attending the conference to control and eliminate the disease.
In his address, AusAID’s Peter Baxter said that the goal of reducing the number of malaria deaths in the Asia-Pacific by 75 per cent was achievable.
‘One of the functions of this conference is to identify what remains to be done if we are to declare victory over malaria in the region….our task is to reach agreement in each of these areas over the next two days so that we can arrive at a single, common set of priorities,’ he said.
‘After our two days of discussion I am optimistic that we will have a compelling set of documents to put to our leaders on Friday.’
Mr Baxter outlined a range of issues and aid imperatives that would be discussed during the conference. These include:
- the fragility of the gains made so far on controlling and eliminating malaria
- the future of financing malaria control in the region
- the prevalence in the region of difficult-to-control strains of malaria such as plasmodium vivax
- the emergence of drug-resistant malaria, which could see a massive rise in deaths if not contained.
The conference continued on Day One with panel sessions involving experts on malaria in Asia and the Pacific. The interactive nature of the panel sessions is enabling audience members to tweet questions and post comments live on the conference screen as panel members speak.
Day One of the conference has set the scene, highlighting progress, successes and challenges. The challenge of containing drug-resistant malaria was discussed as a significant regional priority, and delegates also discussed the technical challenges of delivering malaria care in the region.
Day Two of the conference seeks to work towards a consensus on how to control and eliminate malaria in the Asia-Pacific. Delegates will discuss challenges such as ensuring sustainable finance for malaria control and prevention, and ensuring access to quality medicines. They will also discuss the research and development of new technologies to tackle malaria, and the ongoing challenge of technical and political leadership in the region.
The two days of discussion will culminate in a document representing the outcome of consultations across the region and the consensus of the delegates present. The priority actions agreed will be presented to ministers at Friday’s ministerial action meeting, where ministers will consider the consensus document and agree a path forward to collaborate on a coordinated regional approach to controlling and eliminating malaria.
Australia draws together regional leaders and experts to address malaria threat
Last Reviewed: 31 October, 2012