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NEWS: African Leaders Form Alliance to Accelerate Malaria Eradication

24 September 2009
African Leaders have launched a new high-level initiative to push ahead on the global commitment to protect all those at risk from malaria in Africa by the end of 2010, with the aim of ending unnecessary deaths from the disease by 2015.

The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) has promised to oversee the procurement, distribution and utilisation of malaria prevention and control measures. More than $3 billion has already been contributed to this project and a key role of ALMA will be ensuring that more than 240 million insecticide-treated bed nets are distributed throughout malaria-endemic countries by the end of 2010.

Every year, malaria kills almost one million people across Africa with pregnant women and children most affected. It accounts for more than a quarter of all deaths of children under five. According to a news release issued by ALMA, it is estimated that at least $12 billion is lost in development and opportunity through the effects of the disease.

Malaria Consortium’s Programme Director, Peter Newton, in an interview with BBC News, said the extra bednets made available by ALMA are an excellent contribution to the effort, although additional resources are  still be needed for diagnostics, treatment and health systems strengthening activities in these countries.

“The bednets are part of a comprehensive approach to addressing malaria but they are important element because reducing the incidence of the disease really does help reduce the burden on already overburdened or weak health systems,” said Mr Newton. “The 2015 target is an excellent target to have, but meeting it is going to be a challenge.”

According to the United Nations News Service, both UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan supported the launch, calling the initiative a critical step in the fight against malaria in Africa.

"The full engagement and political commitment of African leaders is essential not only to reach the 2010 target of universal coverage with malaria control interventions, but also to sustain these gains and ultimately achieve the Millennium Development Goals," said Ms. Chan. Goal 6 refers specifically to the halting and reversing the incidence of malaria by 2015.


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