Friday, April 24, 2009

World Malaria Day

Today marks the second World Malaria Day. A summit on malaria is going on to mark the occasion and the US is making a pledge to end the 1 million deaths a year from malaria. The US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is saying today that the US wants to completely stop malaria by 2015.

From the Associated Press via Google, reporter Edith Lederer recieved a transcript of Rice's speech.

"Malaria, simply put, is something we can end. And today I am here to say that malaria is a scourge we can end," she said.

Rice is the keynote speaker at the summit on the eve of the second World Malaria Day that will bring together global leaders in the fight against malaria and African and American faith leaders. They will launch a campaign to mobilize resources to help interfaith institutions in Africa fight malaria more effectively through increased mosquito net distribution and local community education.

On the first World Malaria Day a year ago, the U.N. secretary-general announced a new global initiative to provide mosquito nets and insecticide spraying for everyone at risk of malaria, diagnosis and treatment for those with the disease, and training for community health workers to deal with malaria. He said the initiative would also encourage research into the control, elimination and eradication of malaria.

Ban said the aim of his "bold but achievable vision ... is to put a stop to malaria deaths by ensuring universal coverage by the end of 2010."

The timetable that Rice gives is five years longer.

"President Obama is committed to making the United States a global leader in ending deaths from malaria by 2015," she said. "If we continue to work in the spirit of unity and shared purpose that has already led to substantial progress, this is a target we can hit."

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 250 million people get malaria every year, and it kills almost 1 million, the vast majority young children. Many drugs have lost their effectiveness against the parasite, and there is no vaccine, although advanced testing of an experimental candidate that promises partial protection is under way.

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