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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (March 1, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---The Australian government has pledged to support future anti-malaria programs in the Solomon Islands.

An officer of the Australian High Commission (embassy), Frank Willemsen, made the pledge during a recent Partners Progress meeting in Honiara.

Willemsen said Australia is spending $AUS 10 million ($US 6.69 million) to help the Solomon Islands and regional countries fight such diseases as malaria.

Since 1993, he said, Australia has provided thousands of dollars worth of anti-malaria drugs, chemicals and equipment --including bed nets and microscopes-- which have helped reduce the rate of malaria infection.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s regional director for the Western Pacific, Dr. Hae Tae An, has assured the Solomon Islands that there will be no dengue fever epidemic in the Solomons similar to one in Fiji.

Dr. Han said there is no Aedes Aegypti mosquito in the Solomon Islands, which is responsible for transmitting the disease.

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