|A woman breastfeeds her baby under a bed net in Northern Zambia.|
NEW YORK, 18 February 2005 - Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria. Carried by mosquitoes, this deadly disease affects millions of people in developing countries, particularly Africa where it causes 20 per cent of all child deaths.
One of the most effective forms of prevention is insecticide-treated mosquito nets for beds. And now Japan has pledged to provide 10 million nets by 2007. The initiative will protect 40 million children and adults against malaria.
The Permanent UN Representative of Japan, Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, says his government wanted to do something that would contribute to the Millennium Development Goals of reducing disease and poverty while having an immediate impact.
|A family in Mozambique sits together underneath a bed net that will protect them from malaria carrying mosquitoes.|
“Anti-malaria bed nets will last, depending on circumstances, three to five years and a family of four or five can use each net,” he says. “On that basis it can contribute to saving the lives of 40 million people over a period of three years. That’s a lot of lives.”
UNICEF has welcomed Japan’s donation as a tremendous step forward. “UNICEF is the world’s leading supplier of bed nets,” says UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Kul Goutam. “We purchased seven million last year and this 10 million will be a tremendous help.”
Malaria is not just a health problem – it’s a major cause of poverty. It stunts children’s growth and makes them too sick to go to school which limits their oportunities later in life. It’s estimated that the effects of malaria cost the African economy 12 billion dollars every year.
But UNICEF believes that with the support of governments such as Japan and other partners, the number of child deaths caused by malaria can be halved by 2010.
18 February 2005: Malaria kills 3,000 children a day.
18 February 2005: UNICEF'S Kul Gautam welcomes Japan's donation of 10 million bed nets.