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World Bank Group Report on Malaria in Africa Highlights Progress Towards Goal of Significantly Reducing Malaria Deaths
Date:10/11/2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new World Bank report says in just two years nearly 20 million long lasting insecticidal nets and more than 15 million doses of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) are on course to be distributed under the World Bank Booster Program for Malaria Control in Africa.

The Progress Report on the Booster Program for Malaria Control, says about 240 million people --- including more than 42 million children under age five and nearly 10 million pregnant women --- are in areas covered by the Booster Program projects.

Every year, malaria infects more than 500 million people around the world. More than one million die each year -- most of them children under five, living in Africa.

Launched in September 2005, the Booster Program seeks to help cut malaria deaths in Africa by at least 75 percent by 2015, through the distribution of medicines, nets, and strengthening health systems to sustain the gains. For example, just last week 1.4 million long-lasting nets left the Port of Cotonou for the 77 communes of Benin, in what will be Benin's largest net distribution in history.

"We're seeing that success is possible," said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. "A number of sub-Saharan African countries are beginning to significantly reduce deaths and illness from malaria. With an additional US$3 billion per year over the next three to five years, elimination of one of Africa leading killers of children may soon be within reach."

Just two years after the launch of the Booster Program and in response to strong country demand, the World Bank Group has now increased its financing for malaria control in Africa more than nine-fold.

"The World Bank brings to the fight a long-term commitment and pledge to leverage its unique relationships with key ministries in participating countries as well as partners," said Obiageli Ezekwesili, Vice President of the World Bank's Africa Region.
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SOURCE The World Bank
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