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First-ever White House Summit on Malaria focuses on life-saving initiatives in Africa

© White House/Shealah Craighead
At the White House Summit on Malaria (left to right): UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, US President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

NEW YORK, USA, 15 December 2006 – US President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush yesterday hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Malaria in Washington, DC.

The summit brought together international experts, African civic leaders, and corporate and foundation executives, as well as representatives of many faith-based non-profit organizations.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, World Health Organization Director General-elect Margaret Chan and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz also participated.

President’s Malaria Initiative

The meeting concentrated on the challenge of malaria in Africa, where a child dies every 30 seconds because of the mosquito-borne disease. Participants addressed the power of public-private partnerships, and the importance of mobilizing grassroots efforts to save lives.

“By bringing together such a wide variety of people, this summit is sending a clear message that we are determined to defeat malaria,” said Mr. Bush. “Allowing Africa to continue on that path is just simply unacceptable.”

In June 2005, Mr. Bush announced the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), a five-year, $1.2 billion programme that challenges the private sector to join the US Government in combating malaria in 15 of the hardest-hit countries in Africa.

© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
UNICEF Regional Spokesperson for Malaria Yvonne Chaka Chaka of South Africa speaks at the While House Summit.

More countries targeted

Through partnerships working in the first three PMI target countries – Angola, Tanzania and Uganda – aid has already reached about 6 million Africans. In 2007, an estimated 30 million more will receive life-saving medicines, insect sprays and mosquito nets as the programme expands.

“Reversing the spread of malaria is crucial for the survival, health and development of children, especially in Africa,” said Ms. Veneman. “Reducing the incidence of malaria will help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”

During the summit, Mr. Bush announced the designation of eight additional PMI target countries: Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali and Zambia. He also announced that he will designate 25 April 2007 as ‘Malaria Awareness Day’ in the United States to increase public attention and reaffirm the US Government’s commitment to fighting the disease.



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