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UNICEF and health authorities join forces to tackle malaria in Sudan

KHARTOUM, 10 September 2009 – A renewed effort to reduce the risk of malaria in Sudan will get underway on Sunday 13 September, as the National Malaria Control Programme, local health authorities and UNICEF and WHO lead the distribution of 440,000 long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets in five states in the north of Sudan.

The bed nets, which are impregnated with insecticide to increase their effectiveness against mosquitoes, have been provided through a partnership with UNITAID and the Global Fund – multi-agency programme administered by UNICEF and WHO respectively aimed at reducing the incidence of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV by lowering the costs of medical supplies and drugs for low-income communities.

The latest round of bed net distribution will take place over six days in Gedaref, North Kordofan, South Kordofan and Blue Nile and Gezira States, with a focus on ensuring that children under the age of five and pregnant women receive the life-saving nets. Trained volunteers and health workers in selected communities will oversee the distribution, with nets allocated based on family size.

The 2006 Sudan Household Health Survey – the last national assessment of health and other social indicators in Sudan – found that less than one-fifth of families in Sudan had access to insecticide-treated nets, and only 27 per cent of children under the age of five slept under such a net.

Malaria remains one of the biggest threats to health in Sudan, with data from 2006 indicating that one in every five children under the age of five suffer from malaria at some time each year.

In addition to tackling household hygiene, reducing the incidence of stagnant water and physically spraying insecticides to kill mosquitoes, one of the most effective barriers to malaria is the use of an insecticide-treated net.

The partnership with UNITAID and the Global Fund in the north of Sudan has ensured that some 1.7 million long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets have been distributed so far this year across 12 states, while in Southern Sudan 1.6 million nets have been provided through the partnership and are scheduled for distribution in late 2009 and early 2010.

For further information, please contact:
Edward Carwardine, Chief, Media & External Relations, UNICEF Sudan,
Mobile: Tel  + 249 (0)912 177 291,
E-mail: ecarwardine@unicef.org

Douglas Armour, Communication Manager, UNICEF Southern Sudan Area Programme, Juba, Sudan,
Mobile: Tel + (249) (0) 928 278 975 / + (249) (0) 913 143 481,
E-mail: darmour@unicef.org




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