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Statement by H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Chairman of the African Union, in Response to UN-SG Call to Action on Malaria
Date:4/25/2008

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, April 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today is a great day for the people of Africa. It is a day to remember and a day to celebrate. We celebrate because of the possibilities that the vision of universal coverage to end malaria deaths, announced today by the United Nations Secretary General His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, presents for Africa. We in Africa are confident that, if this initiative is implemented to the letter, millions of lives will be saved in Africa and the world over. We will also give substantial momentum for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 90 per cent of the global malaria burden, which stands at one million deaths per year. In Tanzania, malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, claiming the lives of 80,000 people, particularly young children and pregnant women, per year.

Malaria costs African economies US$12 billion per year in direct costs, and vastly more in lost economic growth in the long run, which may well be more than 1 percentage point per year sacrificed to the disease. The cumulative consequences for Africa's poverty are therefore profound, yet correctable. We in the African continent are aware of the gravity of the malaria burden and the need to deal with it. African leaders have been proactive at regional and continental levels to deal with this disease. In April 2000, African Heads of State and Government met in Abuja, Nigeria, and made a commitment to intensify the fight against malaria.

Today, 8 years later, despite progress that has been made, malaria continues to rage and remains the number one killer disease in the continent.

But this disease can be eliminated through the simultaneous application of four proven interventions: mass-coverage of insecticide treated bed nets, outdoor and indoor residual spraying, preventative treatment for pregnant women, and universal availability of treatment for all those who become inf
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SOURCE United Republic of Tanzania
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