MDG target on malaria on track - UN

Thursday September 23 2010

By Evelyn Lirri

World leaders, who gathered in New York to review the Millennium Development Goals, announced that several countries with endemic malaria are on track to reduce deaths from the disease.
“As we assess progress on the MDGs, our record on malaria stands as an example of successful implementation and effective collaboration,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in a statement.

“We have made solid advances in recent years both in reducing deaths and increasing the use of lifesaving nets. The goal of ending malaria deaths is within reach and I urge all partners to sustain the momentum.” Ray Chambers, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for malaria said, currently enough nets are in place to protect 75 per cent of those at risk, and malaria endemic countries will reach universal coverage by December 31, 2010.

“We are on track to meet the Secretary-General’s goal of ending malaria deaths by 2015, and our work won’t be finished until we do,” said Mr Chambers.
In Uganda, malaria continues to be a major killer especially of children below five years and pregnant women, with an estimated 300 deaths registered every day, according to the ministry of health.

Health ministry statistics also show that although sleeping under a mosquito net is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent malaria, only 42 per cent of the population has access to the nets.

The government early this year launched a programme to distribute up to 17 million-mosquito nets across the county as part of a long-term plan to end malaria deaths.
Mr Chambers said in the past two years, close to 500 million people have been reached with mosquito nets in malaria endemic countries especially in Sub Saharan Africa- saving 200,000 lives per year.

Health experts say the long lasting insecticidal nets can be used for up to five years, making them an effective and powerful tool in malaria prevention.