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World Malaria Day: partners work together to fight the child-killer disease

© Unicef Mozambique/ James Elder
Mother under a mosquito net provided by UNICEF.

Maputo, April 2008 – On April 25th this year the world unites to celebrate the first World Malaria Day. The theme for this year’s celebrations is “a disease without borders”. Malaria remains the main child-killer disease in Mozambique. It is estimated that about 36,000 children die of Malaria every year. It is also responsible for around 40 per cent of outpatient consultations and 60 per cent of hospitalisations of children under five.

In Mozambique a National Malaria Control Programme has been assembled by the Ministry of Health, who is moving forward joint interventions with partners to mobilise and support communities throughout the country in treating and preventing the disease.

The programme provides malaria treatment, using the best available Artemisinian-based Combination Therapies (ACTs), rapid malaria testing and treatment in all health centres, and malaria control and prevention, which is primarily through indoor residual house-spraying (IRS) and the distribution and promotion of mosquito nets.

Last year alone, more than one million five hundred thousands mosquito nets were distributed by the Ministry of Health, supported mainly by UNICEF, PSI and Malaria Consortium.  Strategies have been in place to make sure that the nets reach the most vulnerable, particularly children under five and pregnant women. 

Mosquito net campaigns were held last year from October to December in 5 provinces, distributing more than 697.000 mosquito nets, alongside other health interventions such as vitamin A supplementation to children under five. Also more than 425.000 mosquito nets were distributed to pregnant women in health centres in routine antenatal care consultations.

© UNICEF Mozambique/ Emidio Machiana
On the second day of the “Malaria Fair” in Maputo, a participant looks at the information being provided on malaria interventions. April 2008.

Through the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, more than 52.000 mosquito nets reached orphaned and vulnerable children in many districts. 

Incorporated in the emergency response to the floods in 2007, which affected an estimated 285.000 people along the Zambezi River Valley, more than 88.000 mosquito nets were made available to affected families in accommodation and resettlement centres. And in this year’s emergency response to the floods, an additional 95.000 mosquito nets were distributed.

The private sector is also getting increasingly involved in the distribution of mosquito nets. Last year, private sector companies were responsible for the distribution of more than 285.000 mosquito nets throughout the country.

As part of the 2008 World Malaria Day celebrations, there will be a “Malaria Fair” in Maputo city from April 21st – 25th where the Ministry of Health and partners such as USAID-PMI, DFID, UNICEF, WHO, Malaria Consortium, PSI, Delivery Project, Red Cross and civil society organisations, such as Roll Back Malaria, and various private sector companies involved in the fight against malaria will come together.  The event is an opportunity to jointly provide information and share experiences on the ongoing interventions in response to Malaria in the country.

There will also be a one-day media seminar organised by the Mozambican branch of the African Media and Malaria Research Network on April 25th.  UNICEF is taking part in the seminar, organising a debate around the press coverage of malaria related issues and how the media can better support the national efforts in response to this endemic disease.

 

 
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