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From Henrietta H. Fore, USAID Administrator and Admiral Timothy Ziemer, PMI Coordinator on the Observance of World Malaria Day 2008
Date:4/24/2008

WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by USAID Administrator Henrietta H. Fore and PMI Coordinator Admiral Timothy Ziemer:

On this, Malaria Awareness Day, also known as World Malaria Day, we remember those taken or stricken by one of the planet's oldest scourges, made more tragic because it is preventable. We must rededicate our commitment to help rid malaria as a major killer in Africa by focusing our efforts on the most vulnerable, pregnant women and children.

Recognizing that malaria is the leading cause of death for children under five in Africa, killing approximately 1 million people a year, President Bush announced his Malaria Initiative (PMI) in 2005. PMI pledges more than $1.2 billion through 2010 in 15 of the hardest hit nations in Africa in order to cut malaria deaths by half. Led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PMI is partnering with host country governments in Africa, non-governmental organizations, faith-based and community groups, and the private sector to lift the intolerable malaria burden.

The strategy is straightforward. First, prevention: the initiative supports indoor residual spraying to keep deadly mosquitoes at bay, the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) to provide protection from malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and preventive malaria treatment to expectant mothers during pregnancy. Second, treatment: PMI distributes new effective medicines and trains health workers on the proper use of medicines.

As a result, across Africa, children and their families are sleeping under bed nets and mothers are learning to take anti-malarial drugs when they are pregnant and to seek proper treatment for sick children. In schools and villages, community centers and places of worship, clinics and hospitals, optimism is growing that we can and will succeed.

After only two years of implementation, there is now evidence that we are making an impact. For example, in Zanzibar, the percentage of children who tested positive for malaria dropped from 20 percent in 2005 to less than 1 percent after the distribution of long-lasting ITNs and indoor residual spraying.

Every day, more groups and individuals join our efforts to fight disease and despair. Grassroots campaigns like Malaria No More and Nothing But Nets have inspired tens of thousands of Americans to act by donating $10 bed nets to families in Africa. Where people see real hope for saving lives, we are witnessing an urgency and willingness to act.

Malaria is beginning to be rolled back, setting the stage for big gains in the next few years. The President and First Lady have lent their voices and compassion to galvanize action and spur grass roots and private-sector efforts to eliminate the disease. For the first time, the elimination of one of Africa's leading killers of children is within our reach.

For more information on USAID and its Global Health programs, please visit http://www.usaid.gov.

CONTACT: Public Information, +1-202-712-4810


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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development
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