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Health

Melbourne Is Set to Put Malaria on the World Agenda

Malaria’s deadly grasp takes a hold of millions each year, leaving a trail of economic and social destruction in its wake.

In an effort to put malaria on the agenda, Melbourne is hosting the first Malaria World Congress from 1-5 July 2018.

Scientists, governments, development workers, activists, policy makers, and those personally affected by the disease are coming together to talk solutions and call on world leaders to tackle this deadly disease once and for all.

Malaria is typically transmitted through a parasite carried via the bite of infected mosquitos. While preventable and treatable — and completely eradicated in Australia — malaria continues to be the leading cause of death and illness in many countries across the world.

According to the World Health Organisation, in 2015 there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths.

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Despite harrowing destruction levels, joint initiatives, and efforts by governments, funders and scientists have resulted in the number of deaths declining by 48% globally.

The Australian Government is a key sponsor of the Summit, and considers the elimination of malaria a top priority of its foreign policy agenda. 

In 2015, following calls from Global Citizens, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull committed Australia to supporting a malaria-free Indo Pacific by 2030 by investing $220 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop announced recently that Australia would continue to dedicate itself to new initiatives as part of the nation's goal to eliminate malaria in the region by 2030.

“Australia will support the Australia Awards Health Security Fellowships for health security professionals from the Greater Mekong Subregion – the epicentre for antimalarial drug resistance,” Bishop announced.

“In addition, through Australia’s landmark Health Security Initiative, four Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) have each been awarded $18.75 million over the period 2018 to 2022.”

Similarly, the governments of Cambodia, China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam have voiced the need for intensified action to curb the Greater Mekong region of malaria by 2030.

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A joint Ministerial Call for Action was recently signed by the nations at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

“This signing is a historical landmark in the fight against Malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion,” announced the Union Minister for Health and Sports of Myanmar, Dr Myint Htwe.

“The GMS is the epicentre for drug-resistant Malaria, and country-owned and country-led efforts, along with time-bound targets, are required to defeat it.”

Malaria is preventable and treatable. We hope this Summit will see real action put forward and ensure millions of people are free from this deadly disease. 

Global Citizen campaigns on the Sustainable Development Goals including goal 3 health and wellbeing. You can take action on global health issues here.