31 Oct 2012

Malaria conference to focus on trying to control disease in Asia/Pacific

5:26 am on 31 October 2012

When regional political leaders, scientists and health experts meet in Sydney from today they will be focussing on how to curb a resurgence in the threat of malaria in the Asia/Pacific.

Malaria claimed 42 thousand lives in the region last year, including an estimated 2 thousand in Melanesia.

A key issue at the Malaria 2012: Saving Lives in the Asia/Pacific conference will be the emergence of a drug resistant strain of the disease.

Australia's ambassador for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, James Gilling, says what they want to achieve is control of the disease.

He says it can take many years to develop new, stronger drugs so the focus will be on what can be done immediately.

"And that is the simple stuff, that is the low cost stuff. That's the stuff that costs less than a cup of coffee. To buy a bed net and to treat the disease. If we can get that happening then we at least get the resistant problem under control while the researchers do their work and bring new drugs onto the market."