Top UN officials review malaria control efforts in Uganda

The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, are also hoping to gain a better understanding of the remaining challenges in tackling the disease. The two officials arrived in Uganda from Tanzania, where they met on Monday with President Jakaya Kikwete. In addition to Government leaders, Mr. Chambers and Dr. Chan are also holding talks with local malaria experts and visiting urban and rural health centres focused on fighting the disease. They are joined on the trip by the President of the Global Health Programme at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Their long-term objective is to end malaria deaths,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York. “That can be achieved by meeting the Secretary-General’s goal of providing all endemic African countries with malaria control interventions by the end of 2010.” Last September government, business and civil society leaders launched a global campaign to reduce malaria deaths to near zero by 2015, with an initial commitment of nearly $3 billion. The Global Malaria Action Plan aims to cuts deaths and illness by 2010 to half their 2000 levels by scaling up access to insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying and treatment, and achieve the near-zero goal through sustained universal coverage. Ultimately it seeks to eradicate the disease completely with new tools and strategies. Halting the incidence of malaria is one of the many health-related targets that make up the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the pledges world leaders made to try to slash poverty, hunger, preventable illness and a host of other socio-economic ills by 2015. 21 August 2009Two senior United Nations officials are currently in Uganda to review the country’s progress in controlling malaria, which every year kills an estimated 1 million people, most of them children in Africa.

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