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Fewer children dying of malaria.

A report by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership finds progress is finally being made in cutting malaria deaths, especially among children in Africa. The partnership, which is composed of several United Nations and international aid agencies, says many lives are being saved because of the widespread distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and the use of combination therapies or ACTs. The United Nations-designated Decade to Roll Back Malaria ends this year. The Partnership called 2010 a 'milestone year' for malaria control. The United Nations says 860 000 people still die annually from malaria in Africa, mostly children. While this number is unacceptably high, Jan van Erps of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Secretariat, says it indicates an improvement. 'For years, we have been saying one child is dying every 30 seconds ... Well, today ... we are saving a life every two to three minutes.' The partnership put this down to global malaria funding increasing 10 times from 2004 to 2009 to nearly R13.5 billion, and a big increase in global production of insecticide-treated nets (to 150 million). There's also been major procurement of artemisinin-based (a herb that works against drug-resistant strains of malaria) combination therapies to 160 million. Stefan Embled of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, says the Fund is providing 70% of the money for anti-malaria programmes in 83 countries, most in Africa. In at least 10 endemic African countries there were declines in new malaria cases and a decline in malaria-related child mortality of between 50% and 80%.

However, Andrea Bosman of the World Health Organization's Diagnostics, Drugs and Resistance Program says access to life-saving treatment remains relatively poor. 'Many of the children, the most vulnerable groups--when they have fever--seek malaria treatment and very often receive non-ACT treatment.' In the private sector there were many sub-standard medicines, ineffective anti-malarials and overuse of monotherapies which promoted drug resistance. The Roll Back Malaria Partnership says it believes many countries can achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of malaria deaths by 2015, but only if the world remains committed to funding universal coverage of malaria control interventions.

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Title Annotation:Africa
Publication:CME: Your SA Journal of CPD
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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