The Australian Government has committed $16 million US dollars 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.