World Malaria Day

While HIV/AIDS is thought of as the world’s greatest public health challenge, there are other significant diseases that are are taking a similar toll. Today is World Malaria Day and a number of organizations around the world have taken advantage of the attention being paid to their work to call for new initiatives in the prevention of Malaria.

The AFM (Africa Fighting Malaria) organization has issued a call for a renewed push for “indoor spraying” of homes with DDT. DDT, banned in much of the world because of its dangers to the environment, is one of the most effective spot treatments in preventing domestic Malaria infection vectors.

From their release:

“Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) is a highly effective method of malaria control recommended by the World Health Organization. Unfortunately it remains underutilized in sub-Saharan Africa, where, each year, malaria kills over a million people and drains the continent of US$12 billion. World Malaria Day 2008 focuses on malaria across borders – some of the best cross-border malaria control programs rely heavily on IRS. Yet most donor agencies are loath to strengthen IRS programs in Africa, train medical entomologists to run them, and invest in new insecticides.

This World Malaria Day, AFM is issuing a Call to Action to support IRS. AFM created an interactive map to indicate which countries are conducting IRS (orange) along with the main financiers – the US President’s Malaria Initiative, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the private sector and/or strong domestic government support.  “

Read the rest here.

Episcopal Relief and Development has released a statement today as well.

Episcopal Relief and Development is actively fighting the spread of malaria, which infects 500 million people a year and kills over 1 million, mostly children and pregnant women living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Inspiration Fund is dedicated to achieving MDG 6-Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases- and is in the process of raising $3 million dollars towards this effort.

Episcopal Relief and Development’s NetsforLife® program is a partnership to prevent malaria in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership is comprised of individual, foundation and corporate sponsors including Standard Chartered Bank, ExxonMobil Foundation, The Starr International Foundation, The White Flowers Foundation and The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. NetsforLife® works in partnership with the Anglican Church and other ecumenical partners in affected communities to distribute long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to the most vulnerable, build awareness about malaria, and train community leaders to teach prevention and treatment methods.

“We know what we have to do,” says StephenDzisi, Technical Director of NetsforLife® .“Our ability to reach vulnerable families living ‘at the end of the road’ is the work of our Church and enables us to contribute to the global effort to eliminate malaria.”

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