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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 14) – Australia has committed an extra US$21 million to combat malaria in the Pacific.

The four-year Pacific Malaria Initiative will fund support for health systems and research into malaria prevention and control.

A statement from the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said the money would be targetted at Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The initiative would later be expanded to include Papua New Guinea.

Solomon Islands has the highest incidence of malaria in the Pacific.

Malaria is also one of the leading causes of illness and death in Papua New Guinea.

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