Collaborative efforts are underway to support Papua New Guinea to strengthen its systems for procurement and supply of quality antimalarial medicines. Last week, a joint team from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) met with the PNG Minister for Health and HIV, Sir Dr Puka Temu, and senior officers from the National Department of Health (NDOH), including Deputy Secretary, Dr Paison Dakulala, who is responsible for the National Malaria Programme.
The visit follows the recent renewed commitment to a malaria-free Melanesia by the Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and the Republic of Vanuatu. During last month’s London Malaria Summit, the three leaders acknowledged the critical importance of achieving malaria elimination in the Pacific as a key step in protecting their own nations, as well as accomplishing the overall regional goal. They also endorsed the Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Elimination Roadmap.
Last week’s mission to PNG was the first combined mission by TGA and APLMA. It focused on facilitating access to quality antimalarial medicines through strengthening regulatory and procurement systems, as well as drug quality assurance testing.
“All key stakeholders look forward to the continuing collaboration and engagement of partners to support malaria elimination,” said Dr Geoff Clark, who represented APLMA. “There was also strong support for establishment of a national multisector taskforce to drive malaria elimination efforts in the country.”
The joint visit provided an opportunity for discussion of potential collaboration between the PNG National Malaria Programme and the new Global Fund procurement facility for countries to obtain quality antimalarials. Such a partnership might offer some solutions to current antimalarial procurement challenges in the country.
APLMA and TGA warmly thanks the Minister for Health and HIV, the National Department of Health, including the National Malaria Programme, the Medical Supplies Procurement and the Distribution Branch and Pharmaceutical Services Standards Branch for their hospitality and continued commitment towards malaria elimination.
TGA activities in PNG are funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). TGA’s technical support also falls under the Regional Regulatory Partnership for Malaria Elimination (RRPME), a partnership of nine participating countries in the Asia Pacific, the TGA, United States Pharmacopeia (USP), the DUKE-NUS Centre of Regulatory Excellence (CORE) , and convened by APLMA and the World Health Organization (WHO).
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