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Notice to Readers: Africa Malaria Day --- April 25, 2005

Every 30 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria; of the estimated 1 million malaria deaths occurring each year worldwide, 90% occur in Africa, primarily among young children (1,2). To confront this public health problem, heads of state and representatives from 44 African countries met in Abuja, Nigeria, on April 25, 2000, and signed the Abuja Declaration (3), which committed their countries to decreasing malaria deaths in Africa by 50% by 2010. This event is commemorated every year on Africa Malaria Day and offers an annual opportunity to raise the world's awareness of Africa's fight against malaria.

The Abuja goal is achievable; malaria is preventable and curable, effective tools and strategies are already used to combat malaria (e.g., drugs, insecticide-treated bed nets, and indoor insecticide spraying), research is under way to improve current tools and strategies and develop new ones (e.g., vaccines), and the global community offers increasing financial and technical support to fight malaria.

To mark Africa Malaria Day 2005, major events will be held in locations worldwide, including Lusaka, Zambia; Washington, DC; and Brussels, Belgium. This year's theme, "Unite Against Malaria," and the associated slogan, "Together We Can Beat Malaria," underscore the importance of collaboration among all stakeholders, as exemplified by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, a global partnership initiated by the World Health Organization, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Children's Fund, and World Bank in 1998, that works with governments, other development agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private-sector companies to reduce the human and socioeconomic costs of malaria.

Africa Malaria Day 2005 is also an occasion to take stock of progress midway to the 2010 goal. The Abuja Declaration proposed an intermediate target to be reached by 2005: 60% of people suffering from, or at risk for, malaria having access to treatment and protective measures. Evaluating the extent to which this interim target has been reached will guide efforts toward halving malaria deaths by 2010.

References

  1. Bryce J, Boschi-Pinto C, Shibuya K, Black RE, WHO Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group. WHO estimates of the causes of death in children. Lancet 2005;365:1147--52.
  2. Roll Back Malaria Partnership, World Health Organization. What is malaria? Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2005. Available at http://mosquito.who.int/cmc_upload/0/000/015/372/RBMInfosheet_1.htm.
  3. Roll Back Malaria Partnership, World Health Organization. The Abuja Declaration and the plan of action. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2000. Available at http://www.rbm.who.int/docs/abuja_declaration.pdf.



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