The United States is including eight more countries in a program to combat the spread of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease. In 2005, malaria caused the deaths of some one-million Africans, the vast majority of whom were children. The new countries included in the one-billion-two-hundred-million dollar initiative are Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, and Zambia. Countries already in the program are Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The goal of the five-year initiative is to cut malaria-related deaths by at least fifty percent in the fifteen focus countries through the distribution of medicines, bed nets, and sprays to kill mosquitoes. The initiative also calls for providing grants to African nongovernmental organizations and religious groups to support malaria-control work.
President W. Bush says, "The burden of malaria costs sub-Saharan African an estimated twelve-billion dollars a year":
"If the disease continues to spread, the loss in lives and lost productivity is going to grow exponentially worse. Now is the time to act. Allowing Africa to continue on that path is just simply unacceptable. So we are acting and we're leading. And with partners around the world, we are helping the people of Africa turn the tide against malaria. The goal of defeating malaria is a challenging goal, yet it can be done."
Defeating malaria" says Mr. Bush, requires cooperation between the U.S., the private sector, the affected nations, and the international community:
" We support the efforts to fight malaria led by the WHO. . . .as well as UNICEF. . . .and the World Bank. . . . .Some of our allies in Europe have committed resources to these efforts – and frankly, they should commit more. This is a global effort to fight malaria."
Malaria, says Mr. Bush, "is a global problem, and we've got to solve it together."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.