Eradicating malaria is vital to achieving MDGs - Migiro

New York- US (PANA) -- The fight against malaria is integral to boosting women’s and children’s health and achieving the other targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, has said.
Migiro spoke Monday at the meeting of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) in Kampala, Uganda.
In a copy of her speech, made available to the Pan African News Agency (PANA) in New York, Migiro also urged African leaders to build on the progress made so far to defeat the disease.
"If you continue to see malaria control as an integral part of reaching the MDGs… of building strong health systems… of improving your people’s well-being… then the success we have seen to date will continue, and grow,” she noted.
Launched at UN headquarters in New York in September 2009, ALMA seeks to ensure efficient procurement, distribution, and utilization of malaria control interventions.
Others are to facilitate the sharing of effective malaria control practices and ensure malaria remains high on the global political agenda.
The 26-nation coalition aims to defeat the disease, which accounts for more than 25 per cent of all deaths of children under the age of five across Africa.
It also affects at least 50 million pregnant women and is responsible for 10 per cent of all maternal mortalities every year.
Migiro also stated that, "ALMA has already made significant headway on some of the key issues related to malaria control, including ensuring pooled procurement of goods and services and eliminating taxes and tariffs on these life-saving products".
"The new investments you triggered are now paying off," she said, adding also that the use of insecticide-treated bed nets were widespread and indoor spraying reached nearly 60 million people in 2008.
She said that the number of malaria cases had fallen by more than 50 per cent in nine African countries over the past decade.
"A recent analysis of malaria scale-up in 35 African countries revealed that more than 680,000 lives had been saved between 2000 and 2009, most of them since 2006," she said.
Investment in malaria control, Migiro added, is helping countries reach not only Millennium Development Goal 6 – to halt and reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases by 2015 – but also MDGs 4 and 5 on child and maternal health.
"However, these results remain fragile and tremendous challenges remain,” she stated.
According to her: "The challenges include finishing the job of scaling up life-saving measures.
" Migiro also noted that 85 per cent of the world's malaria cases and 90 per cent of malaria-related deaths still occur in Africa.
She further said it was also vital to address the emergence of mosquitoes that are resistant to some of the insecticides used on mosquito nets and for indoor spraying.
"In addition, African countries must take urgent steps to ensure that medicines for malaria are marketed, sold and used properly," the deputy secretary-general said.
"Malaria is an ancient enemy.
The fight against it will be long.
"But we are on the road to success.
With perseverance, we will win," she concluded.

27 juillet 2010 18:02:00

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