|A local people impregnates bed nets with insecticide for malaria prevention in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai. — Photo baogialai.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Health experts from 17 countries will discuss challenges to achieve a malaria-free Asia-Pacific region by 2030 at a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN).
The 4-day event opens in Hoi An Town this evening.
National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology Director Tran Thanh Duong said at a press conference this morning, "Ever since artemisinin-resistant malaria was found in the Greater Sub-Mekong Region, it has become a major challenge for malaria control and elimination efforts in the region, including Viet Nam."
Duong said the potential spread of artemisinin-resistant parasites to other regions in a country and between countries via mobile populations such as migrants and seasonal workers was a critical problem.
"Viet Nam commits to promote co-operation in health development and to mobilise resources at national, regional and international levels to tackle the problem and move forward to eliminate malaria in the region," Duong said.
Last year, Viet Nam reduced malaria cases by 90 per cent and malaria deaths by nearly 96 per cent, compared to 2000. The health ministry said the country reported only six malaria deaths and no malaria outbreak in 2014.
The commitment to eliminate malaria aims to address growing concerns of resistance to the drug artemisinin, which is the front-line treatment for malaria. The eradication of malaria has been adopted as the only strategy that can ensure resistance does not undo decades of malaria progress.
Reaching the regional malaria eradication goal will require significant investment from governments and donors, sustained political commitment and strong collaboration among countries.
Dr Ben Rolfe, executive secretary of the Asia-Pacific Leaders' Malaria Alliance Secretariat, stressed drug-resistant malaria threatened the well-being and economic prosperity of Viet Nam, the Greater Mekong Sub-Region and much of the world.
"That leaders across this region have agreed to strive for an Asia-Pacific region free of malaria by 2030, shows extraordinary vision and leadership in addressing this emergency, and APMEN has a pivotal role to play in supporting eradication across the region," Rolfe said.
Founded in 2009, APMEN has provided a critical platform for countries to share knowledge on common challenges, promote cross-border collaboration and strengthen regional malaria eradication in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030. — VNS