- The Nigerian Federal Government has launched a campaign to reduce half the number of deaths caused by malaria in the coming years. The disease claims more than 300,000 lives a year in the west African country, according the UN health organisation.
The new initiative provides for the distribution network of 60 million mosquito nets before the end of 2010 and is supported by the World Bank and the UN Fund for Children, among other partners.
The Global Action Plan Against Malaria, a partnership that includes major donors in the fight against the disease, has commended a strategy that emphasises improved diagnostics, drugs and more effective distribution of insecticide-impregnated nets.
Despite being preventable and treatable, the disease continues to kill nearly a million people every year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. In Nigeria, reports point out 90 percent of victims are children aged less than five years.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has mobilised US$500 million for the country as a grant to fight the disease.
The arrangements had already been concluded between Nigeria and WHO to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on the grant which would be beneficial to the country for the next five years effective from May 2009, according to local reports.
WHO has expressed concern about the alarming rate of malaria cases among Nigerians, especially children prompting the mobilisation of the funding to reverse malaria cases in the country.
On the World Day to Combat Malaria, last month, the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, set the ambitious goal of ensuring universal access to prevention by the year 2010.
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