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UK Govt Announces £50 Million Aid To Fight Malaria

Department For International Development (UK)

British Government Announces £50 Million To Fight Malaria

Up to a million lives in Nigeria could be saved as a result of a new £50m project to tackle malaria announced today by International Development Minister, Gillian Merron.

The aid will help provide up to four million mosquito bed nets and ten million anti-malaria drug treatments alongside a wide-range of additional health measures. This will be targeted at those most at risk from malaria including pregnant mothers, babies and children.

Malaria is one of the biggest killers in Nigeria. The latest statistics show that it causes nearly a third of all childhood deaths and a tenth of all deaths during pregnancy. At least 50% of the population suffer from one or more episodes of malaria every year, making Nigeria one of the worst affected countries in the world.

Welcoming the announcement, Gillian Merron, said:
"A child dies from malaria every 30 seconds worldwide. But this disease is preventable. Children can be protected by sleeping under bed nets treated with insecticide, but many families just can't afford the nets.

"This project will prevent directly about 150,000 deaths and through tying in other resources we could prevent a million deaths.

"This is possible because of proven, cost-effective prevention and treatment. This announcement demonstrates how malaria is moving up the development agenda, and how the UK is taking the lead."

The £50 million will be used in support of Nigeria's own five year National Malaria Programme, with extra funding provided by the Nigerian Government, the Global Fund, the World Bank and other donors.

The announcement follows Gillian Merron's visit to Nigeria last week, where she kicked off a 5 year plan to tackle malaria. As part of the visit, she spent time at a health clinic and in rural areas to find out more about the deadly disease.

NOTES

* The announcement follows the G8's commitment this week to supply 100 million nets to Africa and shows the UK is already taking action.

* The annual loss to the Nigerian economy as a direct result of malaria infections has been estimated at £530 million every year, which is devastating on a country where half the population lives in poverty.

* The most effective and cost-effective ways of controlling malaria include the use of insecticide treated bednets (ITNs), intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy, and early access to appropriate treatment for malaria.

* Malaria is the specific focus of Millennium Development Goal target 8 and an important factor in targets 5 and 6 (child and maternal mortality).

* DFID's support for Nigeria's National Malaria Programme forms a key component of DFID's commitment to supporting Nigeria in its efforts to attain the MDGs, as expressed in the Country Assistance Plan which is based on Nigeria's poverty reduction strategy.

* The impact of the project will increase as additional funds are leveraged from :the Nigerian Government; the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the World Bank; and other donors.

For further info please visit the DFID website: http://www.dfid.gov.uk

COI ref 163488P

ENDS

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