Malaria is a mosquito-born disease that kills over one-million people each year, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa. Children and pregnant women are particularly affected.
Many countries in Africa including, Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, are mounting anti-malaria campaigns to prevent and control the disease. Roll Back Malaria is an alliance of donors that includes the United States, the United Nations and the World Bank. It is promoting prevention efforts to save some half-a-million lives each year.
The anti-malaria campaigns typically include distributing insecticide-treated mosquito nets to people living in malaria-prone regions, indoor spraying of households with insecticides, early diagnosis and treatment of fever-illnesses with medicines proven to be effective against malaria, and intermittent preventive treatment of women during pregnancy.
Patrick Mutuo is a health coordinator in Sauri, a village in western Kenya. He says the campaign is working:
"We are seeing a reduction in malaria because we have had the bed nets and we have now prompt treatment. The medicine is available. Malaria has reduced by almost a half. People have already started businesses [in Sauri]."
In 2005, the United States co-sponsored a U-N General Assembly resolution urging member states to strengthen malaria-prevention policies. In June 2005, President George W. Bush announced a new U.S. government effort to save lives in Africa from malaria. "The toll of malaria is even more tragic," he said, "because the disease itself is highly treatable and preventable."
The U.S. has brought these anti-malaria efforts to three highly endemic African countries this year -- Angola, Uganda, and Tanzania -- and will expand the program into Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi, and Senegal in 2007, and to at least five more countries in 2008. President Bush pledged, “In the next five years, with the approval of Congress, we'll spend more than one-billion-two-hundred-million dollars on this campaign."
Mr. Bush says he "urge[s] other wealthy nations and foundations to participate and expand this initiative to additional countries where the need is pressing."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.