Zambia's First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa said Friday she was perturbed at reports that anti-malaria bed nets were being used in some cases as fishing nets or wedding veils.
Mwanawasa was speaking on the first World Malaria Day, which is being marked with a series of awareness activities and talks in the Zambian tourist resort of Livingstone.
Earlier, United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon kick-started a new campaign to try to reduce the incidence of malaria. "We need desperately to step up our efforts to roll back malaria," Ban said in a statement, calling on the world to ensure all African countries had implemented basic measures to control the disease by 2010.
The UN chief called for insecticide-treated bed nets to be made available to an extra 500 million people. He also appealed for more malaria clinics and prevention centres, more training for community health workers and more support for malaria research. Ban saluted the "dramatic strides" made by some African countries in recent years in the area of malaria control, but said the worst- affected nations were still "off track" to meet their targets.
Malaria rampant in Zambia
Malaria kills more people in Zambia than other disease and accounts for half of all hospital admissions, Health Minister Brian Chituwo said.
Southern African health ministers meeting in Livingstone Thursday said the fight against malaria, which kills more African children, should be approached with the same vigour as the fight against HIV/Aids.
Several decades after it was eradicated from Western shores malaria is still a major public health problem in 90 countries. Donor funding for the disease has shot up in recent years to around 1 billion dollars, most of which goes on free bed nets, improved drug treatment and vaccine research. – (Sapa)
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