New initiatives to end malaria in ASEAN are launched at WEF ASEAN 2018 in Hanoi (Photo:VNA)

Hanoi, (VNA)
– Two new initiatives to accelerate the elimination of malaria and improve health outcomes in the ASEAN region were announced in Hanoi on September 13 in the framework of the ongoing World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018.

The first initiative, Blended Finance for Impact, is a partnership of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) to enable and increase long-term integrated financing for health, including malaria.

The second one, M2030, aims to bring together some of the most influential businesses in Asia to raise funds, engage consumers as agents of change and sustain political support for malaria elimination.

“The fight against malaria is at a critical point. Nothing short of an all-hands-on-deck approach will suffice as we work to eliminate malaria in the ASEAN region,” said Vanessa Candeias, Head of the Global Health and Healthcare System Initiative at the World Economic Forum. “Through our platform, the forum supports innovative public-private cooperation required to realize this vision,” she noted.

Also at the event, the Asian Development Bank announced a new Regional Health Fund in line with the objectives of Blended Finance for Impact. The fund will address the increasing demand from governments for new forms of health financing, particularly financial modalities that blend grants and loans to address the most pressing health challenges in Asia Pacific.
 
“We are looking to raise up 150 million USD in grant funding, which will be multiplied many times using other ADB resources,” said Stephen Groff, Vice-President for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Development Bank.

The Regional Health Fund is a hallmark to the creative approaches the ADB is using to address the evolving challenges presented by malaria and other communicable diseases.

“Together with our partners, our aim is to create a new era of collaboration between health development partners,” Groff said. “This platform will help the transition from traditional grant funding for health, while strengthening public-private partnerships and country-led health financing, including financial flows from national to district level,” he added.

M2030, launched by APLMA in April, is a platform for cause-based corporate engagement that takes a novel approach to eliminating malaria by 2030. It unites international health organisations, consumers and prominent business leaders to be malaria-elimination champions through partner platforms and media. M2030 marks the first time that influential Asian-led businesses will unite under the same brand to collaborate and champion the fight against malaria.
 
Current M2030 partners include Tahir Foundation, DT Families Foundation, Dentsu Aegis Network, Outdoor Channel Asia, Shopee, Yoma Strategic Holdings, Wave Money, Pun Hlaing Siloam Hospitals and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“Alongside our Yoma Group partners Wave Money and Pun Hlaing Siloam Hospitals, we are spearheading the M2030 initiative in Myanmar. With the support of government and the private sector, we aim to create a better Myanmar for the 31 million people who, according to the WHO, are still at risk of contracting the disease in our country,” said Serge Pun, Chairman of Yoma Strategic Holdings.
  
The world is seeing unprecedented progress in the global effort to eliminate malaria - arguably the deadliest disease in history.

Traditionally, ASEAN countries have been dependent on external financing for malaria programs. However, as the region’s economy continues to grow, and malaria rates go down, external grant financing is likely to get more competitive.-VNA