Bangkok, 9 March 2016 – “Every day we see evidence of the impact of infectious diseases, not only on our health systems, but on our economy and most importantly the everyday life of our people.”
Dr. Amnuay Gajeena, Director-General of the Thai Department of Disease Control was speaking to an audience of government representatives from across Asia, academics, scientists, donors and international development partners at Malaria Consortium’s Second Asia Symposium in Bangkok. He added: “Following the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we need to rid our region of malaria, neglected and other infectious diseases for good by 2030. Harmony among our national responses is needed. Symposiums such as these help to ensure this happens and I thank Malaria Consortium for organising it.”
The three-day Bangkok-based Symposium - Addressing infectious diseases through sustainable health systems - kicked off today to share findings and showcase innovative practices from malaria, dengue and infectious disease research and implementation projects from Asia and Africa. Its aim: to generate interaction among government representatives, donors and implementing organisations for developing plans for effective collaboration to achieve the SDGs through investment in sustainable health systems.
There are other infectious diseases which pose similar challenges. In 2015, Thailand experienced a significant increase in the reported cases of dengue with an increase of more than 50 percent in infections compared to 2012. With 15,412 dengue cases and 38 deaths in 2015 in Cambodia, and 97,476 reported cases and 61 deaths in Vietnam, according to the World Health Organization, this tropical disease is far from eliminated.
Delegates at the Symposium have three days to discuss these regional challenges, explore ways to collaborate better and promote mutual learning on key aspects of infectious disease management, such as malaria and neglected tropical diseases or pneumonia. Participants will hear what needs to be done to strengthen surveillance and standardise case management regionally. Other topics on the agenda range from new mobile health technology to emerging disease outbreaks and influencing health policy in the Asia Pacific Region.
Chairing the first session on malaria control programme priorities, Malaria Consortium’s Chief Executive Charles Nelson said, “We are here to see what can be done differently to help those most at risk in order to eliminate malaria and neglected tropical diseases. Turning cross-border dialogue into cross-border action has to be high on our agenda. For this to be successful, we need to keep in mind that it is everyone’s task: donors, development partners, government representatives and communities within the Greater Mekong Subregion”.