General Assembly receives update on Roll Back Malaria initiative

12 September 2005

The international community should provide anti-malarial medicines and nets to malaria-endemic countries free of cost as they try to halve the disease in their populations in the next four years and work towards halting its spread by 2015, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report to the General Assembly, due to start its major annual public discussions this week.

The international community should provide anti-malarial medicines and nets to malaria-endemic countries free of cost as they try to halve the disease in their populations in the next four years and work towards halting its spread by 2015, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report to the General Assembly, due to start its major annual public discussions this week.

This should be done by increasing funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other mechanisms, "for insecticide-treated mosquito nets, insecticides for indoor residual spraying for malaria control and effective anti-malarial combination treatments to be fully accessible and free of charge, as public goods, for all populations exposed to malaria," Mr. Annan says.

The affected countries should "pursue a rapid scale-up of prevention by applying expeditious and cost-effective approaches, including targeted free or highly subsidized distribution of materials and medicines to vulnerable groups, with the aim of ensuring that at least 60 per cent of pregnant women receive intermittent preventive treatment and at least 60 per cent of those at risk use insecticide-treated nets, wherever that is the vector-control method of choice;" he says.

Those countries also should recruit, train and retain an adequate number of health-care personnel to achieve the targets of the April 2000 Abuja Declaration to Roll Back Malaria in Africa and the development goals of the September 2000 UN Millennium Declaration, the report to the GA says.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership secretariat, hosted by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), has developed an overarching Global Strategic Plan 2005-2015, which charts the way to achieve 80 per cent coverage of populations with all Partnership interventions, a 50 per cent reduction in the disease burden by 2010, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halting the spread by 2015 and reducing the burden even further.

Malaria-endemic countries should increase, where possible, domestic funding for malaria control and create favourable conditions for work with the private sector on access to good-quality services, Mr. Annan says.

The report notes that last year's GA requested the petroleum companies operating in Africa to provide polymer to manufacturers of mosquito nets at reduced prices, and called on the international community to expand access to artemisinin-based combination therapy for populations at risk of exposure to resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya have been stepping up their cultivation of the plant yielding artemisinin, Artemisia annua, to meet the surge in demand to 30 million treatment courses in 2005 from 2 million courses in 2003, it says.

 

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