News / Health

Funding New Challenge in Fight against Malaria in Southeast Asia

Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore speaks during the opening ceremony of the meeting on efforts to prevent and control malaria at Thai-Burma Border in Kanchanaburi province, October 27, 2012.
Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore speaks during the opening ceremony of the meeting on efforts to prevent and control malaria at Thai-Burma Border in Kanchanaburi province, October 27, 2012.
Ron Corben
— World Health Organization and United Nations authorities say a growing challenge in combating malaria is the increasing evidence of drug resistant strains in Southeast Asia. Health officials are meeting in Australia this week to better organize a regional approach to combating the disease.

A global partnership led by the World Health Organization says, despite gains with falling mortality rates in the past decade, malaria remains a global health problem, claiming the lives of more than 650,000 people a year - mostly in Africa.

In Asia, the most affected countries are India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Burma. Across the region in 2010 the WHO says malaria affected 30 million people and killed 42,000.

Now, growing evidence of a drug resistant strain of malaria in Southeast Asia is leading to fears that it could spread, perhaps adding as many as 200,000 people to the global death toll.

Fatoumata Nafo-Traore is the executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, a joint effort among the WHO, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank and others.  She says authorities are focused on better understanding the drug resistant strain.

"The development of the parasite resistance to the artemisinin combination [drug] therapy…that is the biggest challenge and it started in the border with Cambodia and Thailand... but we’ve started really taking concrete action on that," she said.

The WHO says other signs of drug resistant strains have appeared on the Thai-Burma border as well as in Vietnam.

But Nafo-Traore says a challenge also lies in a continuing funding gap.  She is looking to the private sector to make up the shortfall.

"It is critical for us to maintain the level of funding and work on increasing it through other sources of funding. That is why we are looking at improving domestic resources - engaging the private sector for more resources for malaria control because malaria is also linked to employment absenteeism, absenteeism at the school level - a lack of investment," said Nafo-Traore.

In a bid to consolidate Asia Pacific regional cooperation, Australia is sponsoring a conference this week, marking the first regional political summit on malaria.

Nafo-Traore says, although Australia is presently malaria free, the government has made it a priority to support countries to eliminate malaria. She hopes Australia will provide more financial support to less developed regional countries to enable them to further push back malaria.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid