AUSTRALIA HELPS TO CONTINUE FIGHT AGAINST MALARIA IN THE PHILIPPINES
The Australian Government, through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), will provide a further Php144 million to help reduce the incidence of malaria in the Philippines.
Australia’s additional support to the successful Roll Back Malaria project, implemented by the World Health Organization in partnership with the Department of Health, was announced by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith at the recent Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM).
Australian Ambassador Rod Smith said the additional funding would expand the Roll Back Malaria project’s coverage from 12 to 16 provinces in Mindanao, Rizal province in Luzon and also contribute to eliminating malaria in the Visayas.
“Australia supports the efforts of the Philippine Government to eliminate malaria in the Philippines by 2020,” Ambassador Smith said.
“Malaria continues to place a significant economic, social and health burden on communities and local government units in the Philippines. This is especially more pronounced in poor remote areas where access to and availability of basic health services is limited.”
Currently the eighth leading cause of morbidity nationwide, malaria is prevalent in 59 of the Philippines’ 81 provinces. Preg¬nant women, children and indigenous population groups remain most vulnerable to malaria.
Since 2000, the Roll Back Malaria Project has contributed to a significant reduction of 32 percent in malaria cases and 86 percent in malaria deaths in 12 provinces in Mindanao. An estimated six million people have benefited from the project.
“In Agusan del Sur for instance, where Australia’s support started in 1995 and expanded through the Roll Back Malaria project, malaria incidence has been significantly reduced to less than one percent and no malaria deaths have been recorded in the province from 2004-2007,” Ambassador Smith said.
“The Roll Back Malaria project will continue to focus on the high risk areas of the southern Philippines in the country’s poorest provinces.”
Now on its new phase to 2011, the project will increasingly focus on maternal and child health and will target more pregnant women, mothers with infants, indigenous population groups as well as internally displaced populations. It will also help integrate the management of the National Malaria Control Program and improve community awareness, diagnosis, treatment and control of outbreaks in malaria-endemic areas.
This support will also assist the Philippines achieve Millennium Development Goal Six which aims to combat the incidence of malaria and other major diseases by 2015.
Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and is the country’s second largest bilateral grant aid donor. In 2008-09 the Australian Government will provide an estimated Php4.4 billion (A$109.3 million) in development assistance to the Philippines, focusing on equitable economic growth, basic education, national stability and human security.