Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Jimmie Rodgers informed a regional gathering at the 8th Asia Pacific Leader’s Summit on Malaria Elimination in Port Moresby that funding gaps to target malaria elimination in the three-malaria endemic Pacific nations remains a challenge and so integrated approaches is the way forward.

Dr Rodgers highlighted key opportunities when setting the pace for discussions around the theme “Innovative Health Financing and Approaches for Malaria Elimination’’, in which he was the keynote presenter.

He emphasized that innovative financing mechanisms are crucial in raising new financial resources. However innovative financing must go hand-in-hand with new and innovative ways of working that involve whole of government, whole of society, whole of churches and whole of private sector approaches.

Of the three Melanesian countries affected by malaria, Vanuatu is closest to elimination while there was around 27% financing gap in both Solomon Islands and PNG that needed to be filled to move the countries to control, and elimination.

Dr Rodgers also participated in the ensuing panel discussion on the subject that included Mr Simon Bland, the CEO OF Global Institute for Disease Elimination, Dr Sandii Lwin, from the Gates Foundation, and Ms Martina Pumbo Suve Horora from PNG’s National Department of Health.

The session as chaired by the Chief Secretary to Government, PNG Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council, Mr Ivan Pomaleu and moderated by Dr Christoph Benn, Director for Global Health Diplomacy, Joep Lang Institute and Co-Chair of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance [APLMA].

The panel discussed various types of innovative financing including the use of other known funding such as the emerging funding for climate change adaptations, and intersections with other health and non-health sectors.

Discussions emphasized the importance of leveraging integrated vector-borne disease management approaches to achieve long-term cost savings, strengthening of health systems and adapting programmatic responses to respond to the impact of climate change. They emphasized the whole of society and whole of government, churches, and private sector as key to the elimination of malaria.

The Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Paul Popora Bosawai also presented and participated in the 3rd Plenary Session titled ‘Committing to the Malaria Elimination Goal: Strengthening Regional Collaboration for Malaria Elimination’ on day one of the summit, where he highlighted some of the challenges Solomon Islands was facing in its battle against Malaria.

“We need to re-balance decentralisation and integration of the malaria program to be as integrated as possible but vertical where necessary. Solomon Islands has relied on a heavy vector control response for its success. With declining resources, we also need to shift focus to address reducing the human parasite burden.

“Strengthening of Provincial ownership and capacity to manage malaria within their own provincial context rather and a centralised approach, would be a good way forward, and we need to invest in surveillance system to enable targeting of interventions to optimise for impact in a limited resource environment.

“In addition, we are reviewing our human resources to ensure we have the right people in the right place doing the right job. There is also a need to fast track the translation of research knowledge into strategic interventions. This includes the product development pipeline and approval process,” said Minister Dr Bosawai.

Meanwhile at the end of the session, Minister Bosawai joined his PNG, Vanuatu, Timor Leste and Indonesian counterparts to sign an agreement titled “Support Eliminating Malaria and other Vector Borne Diseases through Enhance Regional Partnerships (EDEN) Initiative.

Today was the first day of the summit and discussions focussed on high-level political commitments to malaria elimination. Discussions tomorrow will have a more technical focus, featuring expert-led sessions covering the latest advancements in malaria control and elimination.



Source: Press Release, Ministry of Health and Medical Services