- The United Nations official leading efforts to tackle malaria is visiting Nigeria and Kenya this week, the two nations which together account for one third of the estimated 1 million deaths worldwide from the deadly disease.
Ray Chambers kicked off his visit yesterday in Nigeria, which has achieved “transformative” progress over the one year that has elapsed since he last visited the country, according to a news release issued by the office of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria.
Close to half of the population now has access to a mosquito net. In addition, a month-by-month distribution strategy has been established to ensure that nets are delivered across Nigeria’s 36 states until universal coverage is achieved by the end of 2010.
Ensuring universal access to malaria-control tools - insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor spraying with insecticides, and effective medication - by 2010 is critical for both countries to reach the Secretary-General’s goal of near-zero global malaria deaths by 2015.
“In just one year, Nigeria has positioned itself to meet the Secretary-General’s goal of universal coverage by 2010. With one quarter of the world’s malaria deaths occurring here, Nigeria bears the most onerous malaria burden. But the proficiency with which the Government is closing in on malaria is a bold statement that across sub-Saharan Africa, the Secretary-General’s goal is achievable,” said Mr Chambers.
“All nations who feel that the challenge may be too daunting can look to Nigeria and understand that rapid progress is possible,” he added.
Nigeria is working to achieve funding for all 70 million nets needed for universal coverage. Some 60 million nets have already been funded thanks to resources from, among others, the UN-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Bank.
The country is also working to mobilise communities to assist in the delivery of the nets and to encourage the use of such life-saving tools.
Today Mr Chambers will join the Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association as it launches its Faith United for Health campaign in the capital, Abuja, which seeks to empower around 300,000 religious leaders to boost the use of nets in their communities.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, malaria has been on the decline but a “final push” toward universal coverage of prevention and treatment is needed to protect the gains made, according to the Special Envoy’s office, which added that the country is facing a “critical” shortage of funding for 11 million nets that must be addressed.
“With Kenyan leadership, and the commitment of the Global Fund, the World Bank, UNICEF [UN Children’s Fund] and others, a potential health crisis can be averted, by ensuring that over 20 million Kenyans are not left unprotected from malaria,” Mr Chambers stated.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.