- The new £50 million project aimed at tackling malaria demonstrates the United Kingdom's commitment to save up to a million lives in Nigeria, said International Development Minister, Gillian Merron.
The aid, whose announcement follows the G8's commitment to supply 100 million nets to Africa, will help provide up to four million mosquito bed nets and ten million anti-malaria drug treatments alongside a wide-range of additional health measures. This will be targeted at those most at risk from malaria including pregnant mothers, babies and children.
Being one of the biggest killer diseases in Nigeria, latest statistics show that malaria causes nearly a third of all childhood deaths and a tenth of all deaths during pregnancy. At least 50% of the Nigerian population suffer from one or more episodes of malaria every year, making Nigeria one of the worst affected countries in the world, health experts said.
"A child dies from malaria every 30 seconds worldwide," Merrron said in a statement, wondering why that should be the case, after all, "this disease is preventable. Children can be protected by sleeping under bed nets treated with insecticide, but many families just can't afford the nets."
The British Minister said the project will prevent directly about 150,000 deaths and through tying in other resources a million deaths could be preventable.
"This is possible because of proven, cost-effective prevention and treatment. This announcement demonstrates how malaria is moving up the development agenda, and how the UK is taking the lead."
The £50 million will support the West African country's five-year National Malaria Programme.
The announcement follows the minister's visit to Nigeria last week to kick off a five-year plan to tackle the killer disease.
The annual loss to the Nigerian economy as a direct result of malaria infections has been estimated at £530 million every year.
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