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USAID Provides Malaria Assistance to Zimbabwe
Date:2/6/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) continues to provide assistance to the people of Zimbabwe, who are in the midst of an expanding humanitarian crisis. An ailing economy, food shortages and the cholera epidemic have left the people of Zimbabwe in danger of other health risks.

USAID, through the President's Malaria Initiative, is supporting emergency Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) to shore up gaps in the country's usually strong spraying efforts. While the country retains adequate stocks of malaria drugs, less than half of the usual level of indoor mosquito spraying has occurred. The program will reach 20 districts that would have otherwise gone without this integral malaria protection mechanism. The Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe has stated that this accelerated program will avert 4 million cases and will save 3,000 to 4,000 lives.

The timing of this intervention is vitally important as it will cover a large portion of the population just in time for the season of highest malaria transmittance. Malaria cases in Zimbabwe begin to rise in February and peak in April and May.

Indoor Residual Spraying shortens the lifetime of mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite. When a mosquito lands in a home that has been sprayed, the mosquito is killed or its life is shortened so that it cannot pass parasites from one person to another.

USAID provided emergency funding of $200,000 along with the UK's Department for International Development's (DFID) providing 200,000 pounds Sterling to enable the National Malaria Control Program to launch a two-month "Accelerated IRS" program in February and March, before peak transmission in April and May. The two responded immediately, procuring equipment, mobilizing teams and transport, and disbursing equipment for approximately 821 spray operators.

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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development
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