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Community-Based Fight Against Malaria Working in Africa

RICHMOND, Va., April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ndeye from Senegal lost her first child when she contracted malaria. Pregnant with her second child, she was visited by a community health worker trained by Christian Children's Fund (CCF), who taught her how to use a bed net and take anti-malarial medication. From that point on, she slept under a bed net, and her pregnancy resulted in a healthy baby. On the other side of Africa in Uganda, 4 year-old Rebecca fell sick with malaria every two months until her mother, Nakayima, was directed to a CCF community health worker who taught her about prevention and control of malaria, and provided her with a bed net.

Stories such as Ndeye's and Nakayima's are becoming more common, but that hasn't always been the case. A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. (That's 2,880 child deaths every DAY.) If they do survive, malaria robs children and infants of their lifelong potential at the most critical stage of their development and growth. During pregnancy, malaria causes low birth weight and cognitive deficits, and increases the risk of newborn and infant deaths. Lost work due to illness reduces families' income and food security and leads to greater impoverishment. It is estimated that malaria reduces the overall GDP of Africa by $12 billion a year.

"As part of our commitment to the health and development of children and their families worldwide, CCF supports community-based programming to prevent and treat malaria," said Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of Christian Children's Fund. "Only by engaging communities as active partners in the fight against malaria can we effectively reach the communities most in need." In Senegal for example, CCF leads the President's Malaria Initiative in a collaborative effort to reach 85 percent of the most vulnerable children and women through major grants which included the purchase of 60 Yamaha motorcycles for nurses, community health workers and staff. With these motorcycles, CCF's "Health Riders" now have the ability to cost-effectively reach the most remote, rural villages in Senegal in order to provide medical assistance and educate communities in malaria prevention tactics. (Motorcycles can more easily navigate the country's poor, dirt roads and cost less to fill with fuel.)

As World Malaria Day approaches on April 25, 2008, we celebrate the good work that has been achieved so far. With sustained funding from individual U.S. donors, the U.S. government and international agencies, CCF and other organizations can cement the gains already made in places like Uganda and Senegal.

"We know what works, and we have the tools in hand," Goddard said. "On World Malaria Day, we will not underestimate the human suffering and enduring consequences of the disease, nor fail to remember that it takes more than one million lives every year. However, we will also pause to celebrate the achievements made to date. The fight against malaria is not a lost cause."

Christian Children's Fund (CCF) is a global force for children, helping the world's poorest and most vulnerable survive and thrive in order to reach their full potential. One of the world's oldest and most respected international child development organizations, CCF works in 31 countries and assists more than 13.2 million children and family members worldwide, regardless of race, creed or gender.

SOURCE Christian Children's Fund
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