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Asian leaders pledge to eradicate malaria

In a declaration at a summit in Myanmar on Thursday, leaders from the Asia-Pacific pledged to eradicate malaria from the region by 2030.

The ambitious, 15-year goal was endorsed by 18 countries, including Cambodia, at the East Asia Summit.

Malaria remains endemic in 22 Asia-Pacific countries, causing an estimated 32 million cases and causing 47,000 deaths each year.

The new commitment to eradicating the disease comes amid concerns of growing resistance to frontline treatment artemisinin.

The highly lethal, artemisinin-resistant strain was first reported on the Thai-Cambodia border in 2008 and was more recently detected in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

“It is now widely accepted that drug-resistant malaria cannot be contained within the Greater Mekong sub-Region and therefore it needs to ultimately be eliminated as an urgent first priority,” the Asia-Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance said in a progress report.

Six months into this year, Cambodia saw five malaria deaths and 15,982 cases, government figures showed.

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