Department for International Development
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UK drive to rid Ngeria of Malaria

UK drive to rid Ngeria of Malaria

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 31 August 2009

A new UK backed campaign to rid Nigeria of malaria and distribute over 63 million lifesaving bednets launched its second phase in the north of the country today.

Malaria is a wholly preventable disease and sleeping under a bednet is a simple and effective way of avoiding infection. With support from several donors, including £50 million in UKaid, two insecticide treated bed nets will be distributed to every Nigerian household by December 2010, reaching over 30 million homes and saving thousands of lives.

The malaria crisis in Nigeria is severe. Nigeria accounts for over a quarter of all cases of malaria in Africa and it is having a damaging impact on the country's economy. It is estimated that the inability of people to work due to malaria illness costs Nigeria at least one billion dollars each year.

Nigeria has recently started a significant effort to combat malaria backed by the UK Department for International Development, USAID, The World Bank, The Global Fund and UNITAID/ UNICEF. The initial phase of the Kano campaign in May distributed 2.1 million long lasting insecticidal nets. This second phase will involve the distribution of a further 2 million nets to 1 million households.

The Department for International Development, through its £50m Support to National Malaria Programme (SuNMaP) project, is helping to coordinate and deliver the Nigerian bednet distribution effort; as well as providing 6 million UK funded nets.

The campaign involves:

- 331 lorries transporting nets to 1500 distribution points across Kano;

- Training 9,500 volunteers to visit an estimated 2 million households to tell them about the campaign and how they can claim their bednet;

- Town criers announcing the delivery of the nets to their village;

- Community leaders educating people of the importance of hanging the nets every day;

- Radio broadcasts promoting the benefits of the nets; and

- Drama groups performing sketches outlining the dangers of malaria and demonstrating how to hang the nets.

International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, said:

"It is shocking that half of all Nigerians will become infected with malaria each year. Over 30% of childhood deaths and 11% of maternal deaths in Nigeria are caused by malaria ? but what is worse is that these are preventable deaths.

"All too often families can't afford the bednets that could save their lives. That is why the UK is proud to support this campaign to ensure that every Nigerian family can sleep under the protection of a bednet."

UK?based Malaria Consortium, the world's leading not?for?profit organisation dedicated to both the prevention and treatment of malaria, manages SuNMaP. Executive director, Sunil Mehra, said:

"Malaria is the leading cause of death for children in Africa. It is shameful that people, and especially children, are still suffering and dying from this disease.

SuNMaP is a crucial component of the Nigerian Government's efforts to cut malaria deaths in the country. This initiative will provide support all the way down to the household level to help beat this disease and reduce the appalling impact malaria has had on families and their livelihoods."

The Department for International Development (DFID) has led the UK's programme to tackle malaria around the world. By 2010 the UK will have met the Prime Minster's pledge to deliver 20 million bednets? preventing some 110,000 child deaths and DFID's funding to the Global Fund has helped deliver 74 million malaria treatments.

Last month, the Government's poverty White Paper set out a range of measures to help combat malaria. The plans include providing a further 30 million bed nets, the development of life?saving new treatments and new funding to increase access to anti?malarial drugs.


For further information please contact the DFID press office on 020 7023 0600

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