The Australian Government has committed US$16 million to a new fund to combat malaria in the Asia Pacific region.
The government says the new Regional Malaria and Other Communicable Disease Threats Trust Fund, established by the Asian Development Bank, will tackle the disease, which is preventable and has very high social and economic costs.
The fund will focus on supporting efforts to contain the spread of drug resistant strains of malaria, which, if allowed to spread, could unwind progress made to date in reducing malaria illness and deaths, costing billions of dollars.
It will also provide financing for programs to assist malaria-affected countries in the Asia Pacific to achieve their national malaria reduction targets.
The World Health Organisation estimates there were 28 million new cases and 45,500 deaths from malaria in the Asia Pacific in 2012.
Meanwhile, a lecturer in environmental health at Fiji’s Medical School says the current dengue outbreak is similar to peaks seen in 2003 and 2008 and highlights the country’s need for an insect specialist.
Dr Amelia Turagabeci says she’s studied the occurrence of leptospirosis, typhoid and dengue in Fiji to evaluate service delivery.
She says a lot of work has gone in to limiting dengue but environmental officers need adequate resources and support.
They need to be fully equipped, particularly with transportation. They need to actually go around and monitor those areas with larval sampling and all that. And currently they need to have an entomologist a full time entomologist within the Ministry of Health. Those are the findings from our latest study.
Turagabeci says mosquitoes in Fiji can transmit dengue and so prevention is focused on hygiene, sanitary practices and waste management