World Economic Forum focuses on malaria

JOHANNESBURG- Agriculture development and the fight against malaria took centre stage on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa last week.

African leaders from 26 countries launched a fresh drive to eliminate malaria using a combination of bed nets, insecticides and medication.

“We believe that if we cover everybody in Africa with bed nets, insecticides and medication by the end of this year, we will have zero deaths or near zero deaths from malaria in Africa by 2015,” said Ray Chambers, a UN special envoy for malaria.

The envoy said African countries and international organisations must grasp the opportunity of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa to advocate the fight against malaria and accelerate actions of confronting the number one killer of children under five on the continent.

Malaria is taking a heavy toll on Africa’s economic and social development. It not only kills a child every 30 seconds, but also contributes to the vicious cycle of poverty.

The Global Malaria Action Plan estimates that malaria costs Africa US$12 billion each year in direct economic losses, and much more in lost productivity.

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