NEW DELHI, Nov 16 – When Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh meets leaders of the region at Phnom Penh on Monday for the East Asia Summit (EAS), on the table would be deliberations on dealing with the menace of malaria, besides human trafficking, drug smuggling to restoration of surface links between the North-eastern States with ASEAN nations. “There are ideas about dealing with pandemic and diseases. So, you have an initiative on malaria which is very important to all the countries of the region”, said Secretary (East), Sanjay Singh.
The Seventh EAS is scheduled for November 20 in Phnom Penh, after conclusion of the ASEAN Summit. The five priority areas for regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS include energy, education, finance, natural disaster management, and global health and pandemic. The issues of connectivity and regional economic integration are also included in the EAS agenda as priority areas for the Sixth EAS, Singh said, briefing newsmen.
The discussion on threats posed by malaria could be significant for States like Assam because of the recent emergence of a new type of drug resistant malaria in the neighbouring Myanmar-Thailand border areas.
Recent findings suggest that the Plasmodium falciparum parasites infecting people in the Thailand Myanmar border are growing more resistant to the drugs. Malaria has been a perennial problem for people in some districts of Assam and some other areas of the North-east.
According to NRHM data, a total of 91,413 malaria cases were detected in Assam in 2009, a marginal drop from 83,939, recorded a year earlier. Epidemiological data on malaria in 2010 was put at 62,146 cases.
Connectivity with ASEAN, in all its three dimensions – geographical, institutional and people-to-people – is a matter of priority. The Trilateral Highway under construction between India, Myanmar and Thailand would connect Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand, said Singh.