APLMA Partners Update

Issue#09 – 12th March 2018

In 2018, the Asia Pacific region is more united than ever against malaria. Successive political recommitments to malaria elimination since the East Asia Summit (EAS) in 2013 have firmly established the 2030 regional malaria elimination goal.

During Malaria Week 2017, hosted by the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports, the APLMA Leaders’ Dashboard was presented with data from the World Malaria Report 2017 and was endorsed by senior officials as the annual regional progress report to leaders. The Dashboard demonstrates that countries with a functioning national malaria elimination task forces or similar mechanism are accelerating towards elimination. During the SOM, senior officials agreed that countries should scale up efforts to establish elimination task forces to help drive political engagement and local leadership in each country.

Looking forward to 2018...

Key areas of focus for the APLMA secretariat will be deepening and widening country engagement, a continued focus on harnessing the Asian corporate sector and raising the voice of Asia Pacific on global platforms such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, April 2018 and the Malaria World Congress hosted by Australia in July 2018.

Senior Officials gather for annual regional policy platform

The third annual APLMA Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) involved representatives from 21 countries and numerous development partner agencies, with the focused task of discussing how to move towards the 2030 malaria elimination goal in Asia and the Pacific. Countries and partners highlighted progress toward and challenges to implementing the six priority areas in the APLMA Malaria Elimination Roadmap.

The dialogue concluded with endorsement of the Draft APLMA Leaders’ Dashboard. This is an important milestone in the efforts to eliminate malaria in Asia and the Pacific by 2030.

The SOM took place during Malaria Week 2017 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. (Read more and view presentations)

Australia takes Asia Pacific region a step closer to ending malaria

The regional goal to eliminate malaria for good came another step closer when Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop recently joined the End Malaria Council. The Council is a committed group of senior leaders from government and business, co-chaired by Bill Gates. It is the latest demonstration of Australia’s leadership and commitment to securing the health of the region. (Read more)

APLMA–Private sector engagement

The Asian corporate sector has considerable leverage in the region, with the potential to impact on health by acting as champions and working closely with governments. APLMA is engaging with Asian business leaders to support their leadership and expand their contribution as champions for malaria elimination. In collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, APLMA recently supported establishment of the Indochina Health Partnership, which has secured the first financial commitment by the DT Families’ Foundation of USD 3 million for malaria elimination in the GMS. The Foundation is associated with the Charoen Pokphand (CP) group of companies, Thailand's largest private company. This contribution will support the expanded second phase of the Regional Arteminisin-resistance Initiative (RAI), renamed as ‘RAI2-Elimination’ (RAI2E), and engage the resources of the foundation and associated companies to help unlock implementation bottlenecks.

The Indochina Health Partnership has an ambitious agenda. It aims to create a broad partnership among high net-worth individuals and foundations in Thailand and beyond, to fight malaria and other communicable diseases in the GMS.

#MalariaMustDie in Asia Pacific

The Malaria Summit: London 2018, taking place during the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April, will bring together global political, business and science leaders to renew global commitments to accelerate progress towards ending malaria.

The diverse community of Commonwealth countries is in a prime position to lead the way. These nations are home to a third of the world’s population, and nearly one billion of its young people. In Asia and the Pacific, Commonwealth countries with ongoing malaria transmission have jointly reduced the number of cases by around 35% since 2010. But this average conceals some exemplary countries and others that have slowed or even moved backwards against malaria in recent years. (read more)

China: On track for malaria elimination

Historically, malaria has been widespread in China. After national control efforts were intensified from 2005, malaria was substantially reduced. The Chinese Government launched a National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) in 2010, aimed at reducing the number of locally transmitted malaria cases across most of China to zero. China is holding itself to that goal.

In 2010, when the elimination programme began, China reported almost 5000 indigenous cases. That number has since fallen rapidly, with the World Malaria Report 2017 logging just three local malaria cases in 2016. Recent presentations by Chinese officials now suggest that incidence of locally-acquired malaria cases reached zero in 2017. If confirmed, it would be a major milestone for regional malaria elimination efforts, potentially laying the ground for achievement of the NMEP goal of certification of malaria elimination in a few years’ time.

2017 APLMA Leaders’ Dashboard published

A critical part of developing the APLMA Malaria Elimination Roadmap was the decision to develop a mechanism to track progress of implementation of sound policies for malaria control and elimination across the region.

The APLMA Leaders’ Dashboard was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization, and refined through extensive consultations with senior government officials representing malaria endemic countries, and the Dashboard Experts Reference Group. It will continue to be refined, updated and reviewed annually at the APLMA SOM, providing the first regional mechanism for direct leader and central agency oversight of elimination efforts. (read more)

Regional malaria financing update

Since APLMA was established, domestic financing for malaria has increased across the region by 44%. From 2015 to 2017, Asia Pacific nations1 collectively reported 562 million US$ in domestic financing compared to 389 million US$ for the preceding three years. A further 40% increase is also projected for 2018 to 2020, according to current government commitments made to the Global Fund.

APLMA also helped broker a new funding partnership between the Global Fund and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Announced in late-2017, the new scheme allows for joint co-financing of health programmes in Asia and the Pacific, while exploring more complex loan buy-down arrangements that bring together ADB loans/grants and Global Fund grants. (read more)

In its single biggest aid announcement for years, the Australian Government committed AU$ 300 million (2017–2022) for the new Indo-Pacific Health Security Initiative. The Initiative aims to help prevent avoidable epidemics, strengthen early detection capacity, and support accelerated research on new drugs and diagnostics. (read more)

Financing pandemic preparedness: Where is the money?

Recent experiences with the Ebola, Zika, and SARS outbreaks have underscored the need for countries to invest in pandemic preparedness, and to do so from an economic perspective as well as in relation to health. A recent Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) session explored key domestic policies and interventions to ensure sustainable financing for pandemic preparedness. Dr Benjamin Rolfe, APLMA CEO argued that political engagement is a crucial ‘pull factor’. His abridged comments are summarized in a recent blog post. (read more)

Vector control: innovation and access

Effectively controlling mosquitoes is essential to preventing the diseases they spread. Development of new tools and expanding access to vector control methods that meet the specific needs of Asia Pacific contexts are essential for countries aiming to eliminate malaria, and to prevent other vector-borne diseases.

To help stimulate vital partnerships and conducive market dynamics, a novel initiative is bringing together ministries of health, development organizations, industry and research centres to explore the challenges and opportunities for enhanced vector control in the region. Co-hosted by Unitaid and APLMA, this inaugural policy dialogue was part of a broader partnership aimed at maximising access to innovative health products for malaria elimination and improved health security. (read more)

Fast-tracking new malaria technologies

National Drug Regulatory Authorities (NDRAs) play a vital role in ensuring the availability of safe, effective and quality medicines and medical devices needed to reach the goal of malaria elimination by 2030. The Regional Regulatory Partnership for Malaria Elimination (RRPME) is a multi-stakeholder group comprising NDRAs, technical agencies, academia, donors, product development partnerships, as well as policy and advocacy specialists. Facilitated by APLMA secretariat, the RRPME has helped produce and validate nine country plans to address capacity gaps, paved the way for AU$ 20 million in new financing to support regulatory strengthening in the region, and supported fast-tracked market entry of the antimalarial tafenoquine: which will have a significant impact on the elimination of P. vivax malaria. (read more)

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