UN says Africa charts progress in counting malaria out

10:10, April 20, 2010      

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On World Malaria Day 2010, the UN says Africa is charting progress in counting malaria out, but major efforts still needed to reach global targets.

With the end of the "Decade to Roll Back Malaria" in sight, 2010 is a milestone year for malaria control.

There are now just over 257 days left to meet the challenge of the UN Secretary General to ensure universal coverage with all anti-malarial interventions.

The World Malaria Day 2010: Africa Update which was launched on Monday by UNICEF and the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership on malaria progress in Africa reveals that some countries have already begun to "count malaria out," while others continue concerted efforts to reach the 2010 coverage targets and reduce malaria deaths by half.

The second in a series of RBM Progress & Impact reports, the update highlights that progress in Africa is on an upward and accelerated trajectory -- with the period from 2004 to 2009 showing a 10-fold increase in global malaria funding from external sources to nearly 1.8 billion US dollars in 2009, a five-fold increase in global production of insecticide-treated nets to 150 million, and over a 30-fold increase in ACT procurement to 160 million.

There is growing evidence that this increase in coverage is leading to substantial reductions in malaria burden in a number of countries in Africa. "Investment in malaria control is saving lives and reaping far- reaching benefits for countries. But without sustained and predictable funding, the significant contribution of malaria control towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals could be reversed." said Dr. Coll Seck, Executive Director, RBM Partnership.

The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership is the global framework for coordinated action against malaria. It provides a neutral platform for consensus-building and developing solutions to challenges in the implementation of malaria control interventions and strategies.

RBM is a public-private partnership that also facilitates the incubation of new ideas and lends support to innovative approaches. "Today, with approximately one third of the global investment needed, country programmes are saving a child's life every three minutes. This is very positive. We cannot afford to relax our efforts," says Seck.

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