Issue#03 - 01 Dec 2015 Subscribe to our newsletter »
APLMA Secretariat update

We are very pleased to begin this newsletter with the excellent news that 18 East Asia Summit Leaders have fully endorsed the APLMA Malaria Elimination Roadmap. Building on their ground-breaking 2014 agreement to the goal of an Asia Pacific free of malaria by 2030, last week leaders took the region a significant step closer to defeating malaria by endorsing a detailed plan to eliminate the disease. We take this opportunity not only to applaud the unprecedented determination leaders have shown in creating this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but also to thank all of you who have helped enhance the substance and depth of the Roadmap development over the past year.

It has been an intense period of consultation that has directly involved many of you. Not only has this broad participation helped ground the Roadmap in the perspectives of endemic countries, it has also helped active alignment with the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria and Action and Investment to defeat Malaria 2016–2030 from RBM. We are most grateful for your help and excellent contributions.

One of the immediate priorities is close cooperation to ensure that regional malaria financing is not only sustained but enhanced. While endorsement of the Roadmap signals clear political commitment, it also represents a strong expression of regional demand for support in safeguarding health security and eliminating malaria. A priority for the APLMA Secretariat will be to support the region to identify opportunities to meet that demand.

The Secretariat is undergoing some changes to enhance its ability to respond to this challenge. Most importantly – and subject to confirmation of final details – this includes the anticipated relocation of the Secretariat from Manila to Singapore. We will be sharing those developments with you as soon as possible in the coming weeks.

Lastly, as this is the final newsletter of 2015, allow me to wish all of you, the APLMA friends, partners, collaborators and stakeholders, a happy, productive and healthy 2016.

With best wishes,

Dr Benjamin Rolfe
Executive Secretary
APLMA Secretariat

EAS endorsement of the Roadmap, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

By far the biggest news of 2015 for APLMA…

Asia Pacific Leaders have taken a very significant further step towards defeating malaria: by endorsing the APLMA Malaria Elimination Roadmap. The detailed plan to eliminate the disease throughout the region was endorsed by the 18 East Asia Summit (EAS) Leaders during their 10th anniversary summit, held recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Roadmap presents six essential actions that leaders can support to accelerate progress towards defeating malaria. As many of you already know, the plan was developed in close consultation with leaders and national malaria programmes throughout the region, 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.

The inclusion of malaria among EAS Leaders’ discussions on regional security and stability, territorial disputes and economic partnership is a demonstration of the remarkable leadership and commitment Heads of Government have shown in collectively tackling the disease.

The relevant section of the EAS Chairman’s Statement reads:

Reaffirming our commitment to the goal of an Asia Pacific free of malaria by 2030, we endorsed the Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Elimination Roadmap as a framework for shared action. 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 drug-resistant malaria.

Just before the summit, the APLMA Envoy, Dr Nafsiah Mboi, penned an open letter to the EAS Leaders commending this crucial commitment. The letter was published in the Financial Times on 21 November 2015.

To download the APLMA Roadmap, the full EAS Chairman’s Statement and read related news coverage, click here.


Strengthening regional support for malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion

On 19 November 2015, the APLMA Secretariat convened a one-day meeting of representatives from national malaria programmes, WHO, the Global Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, bilateral and multilateral partners, and other key stakeholders in the fight against malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

This meeting was a relatively informal first step to building stronger processes for financing and coordinated delivery in the GMS. These discussions were dovetailed to a meeting of the Regional Steering Committee (RSC) of the Regional Artemisinin Initiative (RAI). The APLMA meeting provided a platform for open discussion, particularly in light of preliminary findings of an independent review of the RAI. Participants explored ways to improve coordination and support activities, and discussed findings from the independent review and implications for the RAI/other regional financing and support initiatives.

The meeting took place in Hanoi, Viet Nam and a set of photos from the event can be viewed here

GMS civil society and Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) meeting

The APLMA Secretariat engaged in discussions on collaboration with the Asia Pacific Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN-AP) in November. The meeting aimed to reinforce the roles of civil society organizations (CSOs) and the GFAN in advocacy for regional malaria elimination, including increased financing for elimination efforts and full replenishment of the Global Fund in 2016.

Recognizing that malaria elimination will not be possible without a collaborative and integrated approach at every level, including full community engagement, Jeff Smith had an open discussion with civil society members regarding advocacy for strong national leadership and increased resource mobilization for malaria elimination.

Participants were encouraged to hear that their heads of government have already made remarkable commitments to regional malaria elimination and requested a concrete plan to reach that goal. Community members asked to join ranks with APLMA in holding leaders accountable for this commitment.

Building on the energy and momentum generated by this meeting, the APLMA Secretariat, CSOs and GFAN-AP will increasingly work together as the region advances towards becoming malaria free.

WHO Western Pacific Regional Committee meeting: 12–16 October, Guam, USA

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific – WHO's governing body in the Western Pacific – held its sixty-sixth session in Guam from 12–16 October. The annual meeting brings together representatives from the Region's 37 countries and areas to decide on significant health issues that affect the health and well-being of the Region's 1.8 billion people.

Professor Paul Lalvani, APLMA Team Leader on Access to Quality Medicines raised several critical issues related to malaria elimination during the Regional Committee dialogues, which aim to set policies and approve the work programmes and budgets of WHO, as well as review WHO's work over the past year.

“Investments in elimination – which include prevention, surveillance and treatment – improve health systems, and promote health security and economic development,” he said. “Given Leaders’ endorsement, we call for greater engagement from their central agencies: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Planning and Health.” During the Committee, malaria was highlighted as a catalyst and pilot for regional health system strengthening, promotion of health security and tackling antimicrobial resistance.

The Australian government supported APLMA’s statement during the deliberations. In addition, Prof. Lalvani held bilateral discussions with the governments of Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States and others.

“All need to be involved if we are to be successful. Your support for a whole-of-government approach will help expand the envelope of financing, and promote the leadership needed to eliminate malaria,” added Prof. Lalvani.

APLMA addresses inaugural conference on collaboration in health product regulation

Without access to quality medicines, we will not eliminate malaria. The APLMA Secretariat supports regional platforms that help improve access to life-saving drugs. The Centre of Regulatory Excellence (CoRE), a body that supports development of regulatory leadership and policy innovation in Asia, hosted the inaugural CoRE Scientific Conference from 5–6 October in Singapore. Planned as an annual event, the conference provides a platform for greater global and regional collaboration among regional regulators, industry and academia, and helps to address the issues and challenges in regulating health products.

“Regulatory professionals in both national agencies and industry require more regulatory expertise and knowledge to cope with the demands of the fast developing biomedical scene in Asia”, explained Adjunct Associate Professor John Lim, Executive Director of CoRE. “The CoRE Scientific Conference 2015 aims to promote open discussion on key areas in regulation, including bridging gaps between the latest science and regulatory frameworks, rising expectations of the industry, health care professionals and the public.”

The APLMA Team Leader on Access to Quality Medicines was invited to address the closing panel of the conference. Professor Paul Lalvani took the opportunity to emphasize that delays in obtaining regulatory approval for critical medicines and diagnostic tests have been one of the biggest barriers to greater access. It is critical to explore ways to permit fast-track review of new tools, without compromising on due process and scrutiny. He proposed a focus on malaria and other essential medicines.

The two-day conference brought together around 200 international experts from key national regulatory agencies, industry and academia, and was inaugurated by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, Singapore

2015 Social Media Awards: Malaria Heroes

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sara Canavati 2015 Social Media Awards: Malaria Heroes, in the Regional Malaria Champion: Asia-Pacific category.

Sara Canavati is a research scientist at the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Cambodia. She passionately advocates for malaria elimination online as well as actively sharing regional malaria news and resources with colleagues.

APLMA is pleased to be part of this initiative.


Active discussions during the one-day meeting chaired by APLMA Envoy, Dr Nafsiah Mboi



The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific



Professor Paul Lalvani and other closing panellists reflect on major issues raised during the The CoRE Scientific Conference 2015

Upcoming events
  • Joint International Tropical Medicine Meeting (JITMM), Bangkok, 2-4 December
  • Global Fund Replenishment Preparatory Meeting, Tokyo, 17 December 2016
  • World Economic Forum, Davos, 20-23 January 2016
  • APLMA Regional Advocacy Partners meeting, February 2016 (location tbc)

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Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance Secretariat
6 ADB Avenue Mandaluyong City 1550 Philippines
Tel (+632) 632-4444 ext 70116

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