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November 17, 2014
APMEN applauds EAS leaders' regional vision of Malaria-Free Asia Pacific

In a landmark consensus for malaria elimination, country leaders from Asia have committed to seeing the region become free of malaria by the year 2030.

Convening in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar last week, the 18 leaders of the 9th East Asia Summit (EAS) committed to supporting national malaria programs and strategies in their respective countries, undertaking the ambitious task of achieving regional malaria elimination within the next 15 years.

The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) consists of 16 countries in the region that each have malaria elimination goals, including Sri Lanka who recently celebrated two years without malaria and is currently on track to achieving their national elimination goal of 2016.

[See APMEN Malaria Elimination Infographic http://apmen.org/elimination2030/]

APMEN supports the breakthrough decision of the leaders and stands poised to work in partnership with the leading political body for malaria elimination in the region, the Asia Pacific Leader’s Malaria Alliance (APLMA) to achieve this goal.

In a media release 14 November, the Executive Director ad interim of APLMA, Dr Ben Rolfe, described the 2030 goal as “game-changing” and was delighted that malaria elimination has become a regional responsibility that not only raises awareness around artemisinin-resistant malaria specific to the Asia Pacific, but also shows a coordinated movement among partner organizations.

The EAS announcement also prompted an Op-ed by Indonesian billionaire philanthropist Dato Sri Tahir, entitled; Eliminating malaria is good for business. The piece appeared in the South China Morning Post and described four main reasons why more heads of businesses in the Asia Pacific should pursue “an excellent investment” of malaria elimination.

The case for global malaria eradication was bolstered earlier this month by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who announced an additional $500million of funding through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to combat emerging diseases and eradicate malaria in his lifetime. Mr Gates said efforts to control malaria must continue, such as bed nets to prevent mosquito bites, but "the only way to stop malaria is to end it forever”.

APMEN Co-Chair and Founding Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, Sir Richard Feachem said he fully supports Gates’ vision for malaria eradication, and that the Asia Pacific region is leading the way for a successful global elimination campaign.