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New plan to stop malaria deaths: UN chief

world Updated: Apr 25, 2008 08:31 IST

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will announce a new global initiative on Friday to eliminate by the end of 2010 more than one million deaths every year caused by malaria.

In his video message for a World Malaria Day event at UN headquarters, Ban said the initiative will offer indoor spraying and bed nets treated with long-lasting insecticide "to all people at risk, especially women and children in Africa." The video was obtained on Thursday by The Associated Press.

It will also ensure that all public health facilities have access to effective malaria treatment and diagnosis, that community health workers are trained to deal with malaria, and that research into the control, elimination and eradication of malaria is encouraged, Ban said.

"Malaria still kills more than one million people every year," he said. "The toll it is taking is unacceptable all the more so because malaria is preventable and treatable."

The secretary-general said that several African countries "have made dramatic strides in malaria control, but the most affected nations remain off track to reach the goal of halting and reversing the incidence of the disease."

"That is why today, together with the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, I am putting forward a bold but achievable vision," Ban said. "The aim is to put a stop to malaria deaths by ensuring universal coverage by the end of 2010."

The Roll Back Malaria initiative was launched in 1998 by the World Health Organization and its partners with the goal of reducing malaria deaths by half by 2010. At the midway point, when they assessed their accomplishments, it turned out that there were more malaria cases than when they had started.