UN envoy lauds $520 million boost to fight malaria in India

August 8th, 2008 - 1:11 pm ICT by IANS  


United Nations, Aug 8 (IANS) The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Malaria has welcomed the World Bank’s announcement that it would supply over $500 million to help India combat malaria and other diseases. The new $520.75 million scheme - designed by the Indian government, the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - will provide prevention services through bed nets and spraying and treatment to over 100 million people in India.

More than two million cases of the disease are reported yearly in India, causing the country to lose nearly 80 million days in productivity annually.

In a statement Thursday, UN Special Envoy Roy Chambers congratulated both the World Bank and the Indian government for their “tremendous commitment” to combating malaria.

The funding provided by the World Bank - which comes in the form of a credit from its concessionary lending branch, the International Development Association - is the body’s largest-ever project for malaria control in any one country.

“Malaria continues to be a major threat to the lives of millions of poor Indians through premature death, disability and unnecessary suffering,” said Isabel Guerrero, the World Bank’s vice president for South Asia, when the new initiative was announced last month.

Falciparum malaria, a severe form of the disease which is often fatal, is on the rise in India due to increased resistance to chloroquine treatment, which was previously the primary anti-malaria drug.

“This project uses the latest science on malaria control, including a new highly effective drug regimen, to effectively address this problem,” Guerrero noted.

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