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As Global Recession Worsens, is Malaria Killing Africa's Potential?
Date:4/14/2009

- World Vision calls for $1 billion a year in U.S. funding to save lives, stop economic drain

- Agency launches initiative to provide 3 million bed nets in four African countries

- New report warns bed nets for children, pregnant women not enough

WASHINGTON, April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In advance of World Malaria Day next week, aid agency World Vision warns malaria is sapping Africa's economic and human potential at a time when the global recession and ongoing hunger crises already threaten the continent's economic future.

"Malaria's toll is heavy in both lives and livelihoods," said Joe Mettimano, World Vision's vice president of advocacy. "It's a leading killer of Africa's next generation--children under 5--while it also undermines the economic prospects of those who survive."

"It adds up to $12 billion a year worth of painful 'sick days' for Africa's farmers, mothers, teachers and entrepreneurs--people who could be producing more food, income and opportunity to help their families break out of poverty," Mettimano said.

The Christian humanitarian agency and its supporters are calling on the U.S. government to increase anti-malaria funding to $5 billion over the next five years to meet the amount authorized in the Global AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria bill signed into law last year. In addition, World Vision is partnering with the Against Malaria Foundation to provide 3 million long-lasting, insecticidal bed nets to families in Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya and Mali over the next two years.

"Bed nets are a simple and low-cost item by American standards, but are out of reach for poor families in many hard-hit countries," Mettimano said. "Just $20 can protect an entire family with bed nets and training on how to guard against this disease that kills 1 million people each year."

Meanwhile, an upcoming report from World Vision warns that the common approach of targeting only young children and pregnant women with bed nets actually fails to offer them the best protection, because it doesn't halt the cycle of mosquitoes picking up and carrying malaria from their neighbors. World Vision's analysis of recent anti-malaria studies shows a marked benefit to covering at least 80 percent of households with insecticide-treated bed nets, along with mobilizing community leaders and volunteers to educate, follow up and ensure participation.

"To ensure children stop dying from a mosquito bite, local capacity must be built up and families must be trained in vulnerable communities, an approach World Vision uses and is well-positioned to expand in many hard-hit communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere," said Dr. Mark Maire, an infectious disease specialist for World Vision and contributor to the report.

World Vision implements child-focused relief and development programs in 64 of the 109 countries where malaria is endemic, including in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The public can help by visiting endmalaria.org or calling 1.888.56.CHILD.

World Malaria Day events:

  • April 23: Congressional Briefing & Breakfast on Capitol Hill. Co-sponsored by World Vision and Malaria No More; Joseph Mettimano speaking.
  • April 24: One World Against Malaria Summit at National Geographic Society in Washington, DC. Co-sponsored by World Vision; Joseph Mettimano speaking.
  • April 24: Hundreds of U.S. college students sleep outside under bed nets to raise awareness. Visit nightofnets.org.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Visit worldvision.org/press.


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SOURCE World Vision
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