The Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance

Statement by Dr Shin Young-soo, World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific

October 10, 2013, will go down as an important day for those of us involved in the fight against malaria. At the 8th East Asia Summit in Brunei Darussalam, heads of state/government welcomed the establishment of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (or APLMA), underlining the fact that the region’s governments see the need to tackle malaria as a core development issue that cannot be ignored.

On behalf of the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Margaret Chan, I wish to extend WHO’s congratulations on this historic development and to thank the prime ministers of Australia and Viet Nam for agreeing to take on the initial role of co-chairing the leadership group, the Asian Development Bank for hosting the Secretariat and, of course, all the heads of government whose vision and commitment have helped bring this about.

APLMA was born out of last year’s East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where leaders pledged their political support for efforts to reduce malaria cases and deaths by 75% by 2015, compared with the year 2000, and to contain resistance to antimalarial medicines. For WHO, APLMA is a great step forward. It follows a meeting in July last year when ASEAN health ministers for the first time identified malaria and resistance to the antimalarial drug artemisinin as priority issues. That was followed in November last year by similar commitments voiced at a high-level meeting in Sydney organized by the Australian Government.

APLMA will support the fight against malaria across the Asia Pacific region, but particularly in those countries facing high burdens from the disease. Priority will be given to cross-border areas, vulnerable populations such as migrant workers and areas where artemisinin resistance is emerging.

As the world’s leading health agency, WHO pledges its support for APLMA and its objectives. We believe that together, along with the efforts of all our partners, we can reach the day that the Asia Pacific is free of the scourge of malaria.