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Mali Govt & Int'l Partners Launch Health Campaign


Government of Mali and Global Partners Launch Integrated Health Campaign

The Malian Ministry of Health, in collaboration with international partners, launched a national, integrated health campaign to vaccinate more than 2.8 million children against measles. The campaign will also distribute over two million insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria--together these diseases take the lives of more than one million African children each year.

As part of the comprehensive health campaign taking place from December 13-19, 2007, children will receive polio vaccinations, de-worming medication, and Vitamin A supplements to improve their immune systems and help them grow stronger.

"Through the commitment of the Ministry of Health and our global partners, the children of Mali are being protected from some of Africa's deadliest diseases," said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President for International Services for the American Red Cross. "This campaign will ensure that the next generation of children in Mali grows up stronger and healthier."

Already, partners in the Measles Initiative - led by the American Red Cross, UNICEF, the United Nations Foundation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization - have supported the vaccination of more than 400 million children in 50 countries, helping reduce measles mortality by 68 percent worldwide and 91 percent in Africa (compared to 2000).

This campaign is a follow-up to two previous measles vaccination campaigns that took place in 2001 and 2003. It is important for countries to conduct follow-up vaccination campaigns every two to four years to prevent the recurrence of measles until a country's routine immunization system is capable of reaching all children.

Similar efforts are being made to stop the spread of malaria--one of the leading causes of child deaths in Africa. Organizations from around the world are raising awareness and mobilizing communities to distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets. In addition to the Measles Initiative partners, the fight against malaria is being led by agencies, including: the Canadian Red Cross; the Canadian International Development Agency; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Malaria No More; Population Services International; the President's Malaria Initiative; the Roll Back Malaria Partnership; the UN Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign; and others.

"Whether you are an athlete, a religious leader, a CEO, a volunteer, a student or a teacher, we all have resources that we can utilize to help make a difference in this world," said Ruth Riley, two-time WNBA champion and Olympic Gold Medalist and national spokesperson for the Nothing But Nets campaign. "By mobilizing all of our resources and support, we can help to make a significant impact on the lives of children."

Nothing But Nets supports the distribution of mosquito nets during integrated health campaign through its partners in the Measles Initiative.

Prior to the campaign, health workers and trained volunteers, including from the Mali Red Cross society and other organizations, helped to inform families about the importance of vaccinations and proper health care. Trained volunteers will follow-up the campaign by educating families how to properly use and care for mosquito nets. On the ground, health workers from UNICEF, WHO and other agencies will provide technical support to the government, including logistics, social mobilization, training, and monitoring and evaluation.

The Measles Initiative is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally. Launched in 2001, the Initiative--led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization--provides technical and financial support to governments and communities on vaccination campaigns worldwide. To date, the Initiative has supported the vaccination of more than 400 million children helping reduce measles deaths by more than 68 percent globally and 91 percent in Africa (compared to 2000). To learn more or make a donation, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.

ENDS

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