From 10-13 May 2016, the World Health Organization, Global Fund Regional Artemisinin-resistance Initiative, Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN), Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), private sector and civil society organizations all descended on Bangkok for the first Joint Malaria Week. This unprecedented regional gathering gave an opportunity for malaria platforms and stakeholders to convene and review progress on malaria elimination efforts across the region.
The Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) Roadmap was endorsed by 18 heads of government in November 2015. It highlights six key priorities that governments must pursue to achieve malaria elimination in the region by 2030 including; uniting national efforts into regional action, ensuring high quality malaria services and mobilising domestic financing to name but three. The prize at the end of this roadmap to elimination? … 22 countries malaria-free, 216 million cases averted, 1.3 million lives saved and an estimated economic benefit of $300 billion (USD).
Along with Sanofi, GBC Health, and MHDC, Sumitomo Chemical co-sponsored the Private Sector Forum: “Healthy People, Healthy Region: Driving Corporate Action to Eliminate Malaria in Asia-Pacific”.
If the Roadmap is to be realised, clear consensus was reached that innovation is essential at every level. Encouragingly many forms of innovation are already under way in the region:
- Innovative finance platforms, such as a Health Security Bond in development by the Asian Development Bank, will help to provide the needed resources.
- The Global Fund’s Innovation Hub and Register of Unfunded Quality Demand will provide validated investment opportunities for new contributors to the malaria fight.
- Innovative and powerful workplace programmes are bringing large employers to fight malaria in their communities with great success; From a Private Sector perspective: Sumitomo Chemical and other partners are focused on developing Innovative Health tools to defeat drug and insecticide resistance, which many believe to be the number one threat to malaria gains made so far not just in the Asia Pacific region but globally.
Ray Nishimoto, Representative Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer at Sumitomo Chemical, and incoming RBM Partnership Board Member, addressed the APLMA Senior Officials Meeting:
“One of the most important insights from the meetings this week is recognition that, as we approach Malaria Elimination, our efforts must be framed in terms that demonstrate broader Health Security goals and Universal Health Coverage, in line with the sustainable development goals. After reviewing the APLMA roadmap and noting the remarkable pace of progress, I firmly believe that Asia-Pacific is the region that will lead the world in translating high-level political commitment into action and results.”