Unicef calls for efforts to control malaria

April 25th, 2008 - 7:43 pm ICT by admin  

Lusaka (Zambia), April 25 (Xinhua) UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) has called for sustained efforts to control malaria, saying more than 800,000 children in Africa die annually of the totally preventable disease. In a press release issued Friday, Unicef executive director Ann M. Veneman said, “Malaria is a curable and preventable disease that can be controlled by using mosquito nets and other preventive measures, as part of integrated, community based programmes.”

April 25 has been declared as the first World Malaria Day with the theme “A disease without borders”.

Since 2003, many African countries have switched to the more effective World Health Organization recommended Artemisinin based combination therapy (ACT) to treat malaria. There has been a significant increase in global ACT production, from less than four million treatment doses in 2004 to over 100 million in 2006, according to the release.

In 16 of the 20 African countries for which data is available, the use of insecticide treated nets has tripled since 2000.

“In Ethiopia, 18 million long-lasting mosquito nets that protect against malaria have been distributed since 2005, and in Kenya 10 million nets have been distributed in the past five years, ” said Veneman.

“These successes show what can be achieved with concerted action. But with an estimated 800,000 African children still dying from malaria every year, it is clear that much remains to be done, “said the executive director.

If malaria is to be controlled, interventions must be further scaled up, sustained financing must be made available, and community involvement and leadership must be encouraged, alongside stronger global, regional and national partnerships, said the press release.

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