Australia commits $16.3 million to fight against malaria

The government of Australia committed $16.3 million to a new fund that will battle malaria in the Asia-Pacific region, the Asian Development Bank recently announced.

The contribution from Australia joins a $19.4 million pledge from the government of the United Kingdom to the Regional Malaria and Other Communicable Disease Threats Trust Fund. The ADB will administer the fund.

The fund is meant to assist developing member countries to decrease the number of malaria cases and deaths in Asia and the Pacific, and control the spread of drug-resistant strains. The fund will also help countries scale-up responses to key challenges in the malaria fight in the region, such as the need for managing the affordability and efficacy of malaria drugs and commodities, sustained financing, expanded leadership beyond the health sector and improved data for evidence-based decision making.

The fund is the first under ADB's Health Financing Partnership Facility, which looks to attract co-financing from development partners, foundations, regional economies and the private sector.

The fund builds on the creation of the Asia-Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance. The alliance, which was announced at the East Asia Summit in October, seeks to reduce malaria cases and deaths by 75 percent by 2015.

According to the ADB, malaria causes approximately 36 million cases and around 49,000 deaths annually in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Asia Development Bank is an alliance dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia-Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, regional integration and environmentally sustainable growth.