Princess Astrid of Belgium has been in Southeast Asia for the last couple of days, spreading awareness of malaria which kills 700,000 a year worldwide. She was in Singapore on Monday through Wednesday for her campaign, and was in Indonesia for the remainder of the week.
In Singapore, Astrid, who is a Special Representative to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership – the UN’s body for the global fight against malaria – gave a speech which opened the National University of Singapore’s Greater Good Series.
In her speech, Her Royal Highness brought up that increasingly, there is growing resistance to artemisinin resistance, which treats malaria. This is especially happening in the Asia-Pacific region, which has the highest cases of malaria after Africa.
The Princess also praised the University for its studies and fight to better understand the disease.
During her stay in Singapore, Astrid toured malaria research centers.
On Thursday, Astrid went to Jakarta, Indonesia where she met with First Lady Any Yudhoyono and Health Deputy Minister Ali Ghufron at the Merdeka Palace. She told the two about the importance of battling malaria.
“Malaria is serious problem because it targeting the most vulnerable; pregnant women and children,” Princess Astrid said.
“In my work with the RBM Partnership, I’ve seen first-hand the complete devastation malaria imposes on communities. I’ve also seen the incredible hope provided by simple, cost-effective tools that prevent and treat infection and advance other development goals that will lift communities out of poverty.”
In 2011, Indonesia had 256,592 cases of the illness.
Princess Astrid, the middle child of King Albert II and Queen Paola, has been a Special Representative to the Roll Back Malaria since 2007. This Southeast Asian tour was part her World Malaria Day activities, which falls on April 25th.
Sources: NUS.sg, Jakarta Post, RollBackMalaria.org