The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, called for greater efforts to combat malaria to mark Africa Malaria Day (25 April 2007).
The preventable disease claims more than a million lives every
year, most of them children under five.
"Every 30 seconds, an African child dies from malaria despite it
being a curable and preventable disease, " said Ann Veneman, UNICEF
More than 80 per cent of malaria deaths occurred in sub-Saharan
Africa. Those who survive the disease are often left debilitated,
unable to fulfil their potential in school or to earn a living.
Bed nets can help
The disease is easily preventable, by shielding humans from the
mosquitoes that carry and spread the virus. Inexpensive nets to
cover beds can keep many people from contracting the disease.
"The proper use of a 10-dollar bed net has been shown to reduce
under-five mortality from all causes by up to 25 per cent," said
Efforts to increase use of insecticide-treated bed nets in 2006
made significant progress in Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and
Ethiopia, a country with around 9 million malaria infections
each year, increased the number of nets distributed from 1.8
million in 2004 to 8 million by the end of 2006. The government,
UNICEF and other partners, are now aiming for 20 million nets by
the end of this year. – (Sapa-dpa)
Malaria nets for Africa