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Feb, 07 2019

Experts meet in New Delhi to 'Step Up the Fight' against malaria and drug resistance

Discussion centered on the alarming emergence of antimalarial drug resistance in countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion.

The Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance (APLMA) convened a panel of senior officials in New Delhi to discuss the global fight to end malaria, outlining strategies to improve collaboration, increase investment and identify innovative approaches to eliminate the disease and stop drug-resistance. The event took place on the sidelines of the preparatory meeting for the Global Fund's Sixth Replenishment, hosted by the Government of India.

Discussion centered on the alarming emergence of antimalarial drug resistance in countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS): Viet Nam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand. India remains susceptible to drug resistance as it lies in the middle of what is often referred to as the “world's malaria corridor” between the GMS and Africa.

Last month, the Global Fund called on the world to “Step Up the Fight” against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS with an aim to raise $14 billion at its upcoming Sixth Replenishment meeting, which will be hosted by France in Lyon, in October 2019.

Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, said, “We need to double down on our efforts to eliminate malaria in the Mekong region and we need to do it quickly. The tools we have now are sharp and we have to use them more aggressively. We know that eventually, resistance is going to blunt the tools to fight malaria.”

Dr. Ben Rolfe, Chief Executive Officer of APLMA, stated, “Many countries in the Asia Pacific have made significant strides in their efforts to eliminate malaria. This makes the rise of antimalarial resistance in the Mekong region a significant concern. In the face of progress and a declining caseload, we risk the emergence of complacency, which can allow challenges like drug resistance to percolate and spread to potentially devastating consequences. However, given the commitment and momentum I have seen today, I am confident that effective leadership, increased action, and innovation will bring us closer to the goal of elimination by 2030.”

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