February 1, 2009

Campaign Seeks To Stop 1 Million Malaria Deaths By 2010

Hundreds of millions of anti-malaria kits and mosquito nets will be distributed by 2010 as part of a campaign to stop one million annual malaria deaths, officials organizing the initiative said Saturday.

They called on donors not to abandon the program because of the global economic crisis, and emphasized that there was significant possibility the malaria epidemic could be wiped out in the coming years.

"The resources to attack this problem -- to eliminate malaria deaths -- is there. We can achieve universal distribution of bed nets, of malaria medicine, of indoor spraying within 2010," Rajat Kumar Gupta, chairman of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, told the AFP.

About 600 million people are thought to be at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa alone, meaning the region requires 300 million bed nets, said campaigner Scott Case.

Corporate leaders from ExxonMobil, Standard Chartered Bank and News Corporation have collaborated in a $100 million fund-raising campaign to support the cause.

"We had a good start ... 40 million dollars of the 100 million dollars has been committed,"  ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson told the AFP.

He believes the funding goals can be reached despite the touch economy, so long as the campaign can  "demonstrate to donors that their investment for eradication has a return."


Image Caption: Anopheles albimanus mosquito feeding on a human arm. This mosquito is a vector of malaria and mosquito control is a very effective way of reducing the incidence of malaria. CDC


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