A similar distribution will take place later this year when 722,953 treatments at a cost of $742,000, which will be donated to the Government of Burundi. The total number of treatments in both countries is 1.4 million at a sum of $1.1 million.
“This is truly a remarkable gesture for the people of Liberia especially the children and pregnant women who suffer the most,” said Dr. Walter Gwenigale Minister of Health. “Malaria is a serious problem in Liberia today. We are dealing with a situation where when 50 patients enter a clinic, 25 of them are malaria-infected."
The World Health Organization and UNITAID are paying for the drugs. The role of UNICEF, in addition to purchasing the drugs, is to support in their planning, receipt and distribution. For that purpose, UNICEF has contributed $500,000.
Malaria is one of the most devastating diseases in Africa today. The disease kills over a million people a year or about 3,000 people per day. At least 300 million people suffer from acute malaria each year, often suffering long-term effects. Children aged under five, pregnant women and their unborn children, and the elderly are the most vulnerable.
“Often times, malaria impacts a child's education, as it contributes to a high rate of absenteeism from school,” said Dr. Joel Jones, head of Liberia’s Malaria Control Programme. “We often see young Liberians inflicted with malaria warming themselves around the fire place or sitting in the hot sun because they are physically and mentally too weak to study or walk to school.”
Ninety per cent of all clinical cases of malaria recorded worldwide occur in Africa. It is a disease that disproportionately affects the poor, killing the young and the weak, most of whom live in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Scott Adolphus, Project Assistant Information Communications, UNICEF Liberia,+231 06 526607 firstname.lastname@example.org