Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has joined other Asia Pacific Leaders to take a step closer to eradicate malaria. In a meeting held in Malaysia in the past weekend, along with the 17 other East Asia Summit (EAS) Leaders, Modi endorsed a detailed plan to eliminate the disease throughout the region by 2030.
The APLMA Malaria Elimination Roadmap presents six essential actions that leaders can support to accelerate progress towards malaria elimination. In endorsing the Roadmap, Prime Minister Modi and regional Leaders expressed their
determination to defeat malaria.
‘The development of resistance to antimalarial drugs poses one of the greatest threats to control the disease, which results in increased malaria morbidity and mortality.’
"We are committed to the Roadmap's six priority areas and called for a rapid
and sustained scale-up effort in the Mekong region to prevent the spread of
drugresistant malaria,"read the official EAS Chairman's statement issued
after the Summit.
Inclusion of malaria in EAS Leaders' discussions on crucial issues such as
regional security, territorial disputes and economic partnership indicates the
importance they assign to tackling the disease.
"Asia Pacific is facing a silent malaria emergency - one that could have a
disastrous impact on the region as a whole, as well as on global health
security," said Dr Nafsiah Mboi. Envoy of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria
Alliance (APLMA). "Having halved deaths from malaria in just 15 years, the
failure of the most effective antimalarial drugs in the Greater Mekong Subregion
threatens much of that hard won progress."
Asia Pacific malaria elimination decreases the impact of the disease for over
half the world's population - and it also removes the threat of emerging
drug resistant malaria for the other half.
The plan was developed in close consultation with leaders and national malaria
programs throughout Asia Pacific, and with the help of technical experts from
the Asian Development Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and many other
partner organizations. If fully implemented between now and 2030, the plan will
save more than a million lives and deliver US$ 300 billion in economic benefits.
"We commend the foresight of our leaders in making this crucial commitment to
eliminating malaria," added Dr Mboi.
The Summit also issued a related statement on Enhancing regional health security
relating to communicable diseases with epidemic and pandemic potential. To
successfully tackle health security threats, including malaria, the region's
governments, experts - and communities - must be urged to work together in
new and unprecedented ways: between countries, across sectors and multiple
The EAS is an annual forum among the leaders of countries in East and South East
Asia, as well as Russia and the United States, and immediately follows the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders' meeting. This year,
heads of government met over 21-22 November to discuss issues of critical
importance to the region.
Malaysia was a fitting host for the regional malaria elimination discussion: It
is one of the founding members of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network
(APMEN), a network of 18 countries committed to the goal of a malariafree
Asia Pacific by 2030. India joined APMEN in early 2015.
"We are driven by a passion for seeing malaria conquered, and the endorsement
of the APLMA Roadmap builds on the work already done by individual countries
with the assistance of APMEN and other regional bodies, such as the WHO,"
commented Dr Chong Chee Kheong, Director of Disease Control for the Malaysian
Ministry of Health and Chair of the APMEN Advisory Board. "The Roadmap is an
important and necessary step towards the elimination of malaria in Malaysia
within the next five years and in Asia Pacific by 2030."
With the growing threat of multi-drug resistant malaria in the Greater Mekong
Subregion, malaria elimination is clearly a top priority for the region.
Source: CNS (Citizen News Service)