PM Hou addresses high-level Malaria Summit, commended for championing fight against Malaria

Solomon Is Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela. Picture: RNZ

NEW YORK, 27 SEPTEMBER 2018 (SIG) – Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela has told a high-level roundtable meeting at the UNGA that Solomon Islands has reduced the number of malaria cases over the last 24 years.

He said Malaria cases in Solomon Islands have decreased from a hardly believable peak of 450 per thousand in 1993, to 80 per thousand in 2017.

Prime Minister Houenipwela said Solomon Islands is proud of her progress which was enabled from support from the donor community.

“With this success on the ground we can now begin to dream of a different future. A dream of a future that is free of malaria. A dream that countries such as China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka have achieved with zero malaria indigenous cases. A dream that the Tafea province of Vanuatu, which was declared malaria-free the first time in human history is now enjoying. A dream that shows what is possible. A dream showing that Solomon Islands can eliminate malaria,” he said.

The Prime Minister told the high-level summit that the Solomon Islands government has increased the level of its domestic resources to combat malaria to 12% of the total health sector budget.

However, he said while this is high by any standards, it is still not enough.

That said, the Prime Minister said Solomon Islands are grateful for the continued support from the Global Fund, and from Australia.

Prime Minister Houenipwela said in November this year Solomon Islands would convene a high-level meeting for its key partners and stakeholders both domestically and internationally.

He said this would also include the private sector to discuss and agree on a ‘malaria elimination roadmap’ for Solomon Islands that will achieve a ‘malaria free’ Solomon Islands by 2030.

“This malaria elimination roadmap will inform our new strategy; the level of resources and breadth of partnership that will be needed to eradicate malaria from our shores forever,” he said.

Prime Minister Houenipwela said his government considers the resources applied to help eliminate malaria from its domestic budget as well as from our development partners as an investment and not a cost.

“It is an investment in the future prosperity of my nation’s children and people. In eradicating malaria, we will save millions of dollars in health care costs that can be redirected to address other important priorities of government including in health to benefit the country’s young population. Investment to eliminate malaria has the potential to potential to transform our economic development aspirations,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Houenipwela has been applauded for championing the fight against Malaria in the pacific region.

 

Foreign leaders and donor partners have particularly commended the Prime Minister for initiating the signing of the Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance (APLMA’s) 2030 goal to eliminate malaria from the Asia-Pacific region.

 

Prime Minister Houenipwela, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neil and Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai signed the APLMA in London at the margins of CHOGM early this year.

 

Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and PNG account for 92% of all cases in the Western Pacific Region.

 

Consequently, Asia Pacific’s ability to achieve elimination will hinge on Melanesia.

 

Speaking during the Malaria Summit, the Prime Minister said the support of development partners and health organisations are crucial to allow pacific countries to innovate and modernise their systems.

 

“In the Solomon Islands, the Global Fund is piloting a Cash-on-Delivery model that allows us to fully integrate elimination of malaria as an integral part of our health system. This approach to financing is changing the way we deliver health services. Innovative funding approaches must be part of the solution to eliminate malaria,” he told the summit.

 

The Prime Minister said he is also encouraged by the new partnership between the Global Fund and the Asian Development Bank.

 

This partnership will offer the region new ways of reaching the SDGs, by investing directly in results.

 

“There is much to do. But, with all our collective support, I have no doubt we will eliminate malaria from Solomon Islands, from Melanesia, from the Asia-Pacific region and ultimately from the whole world. I am convinced we will be the generation that eradicated malaria,” he said.

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