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DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Fighting Malaria, Part 2 - 2004-08-02

Broadcast: August 2, 2004

This is Robert Cohen with the VOA Special English Development Report.

Today we report on some national programs against malaria.

In Zambia, the disease killed at least twenty thousand children in two-thousand-one. Now Zambia has money from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This money is to buy new and more costly medicines that treat malaria.

Government and private groups are both involved in this effort. Religious groups that provide health care are also giving people bed nets treated with chemicals. These kill the mosquitoes that spread malaria.

Tanzania became the first government in Africa to end all taxes on treated bed nets. Pregnant women will receive one free of charge. Local stores will get money for the nets from an organization financed by the Global Fund.

Nearly all the nets used are made in Tanzania. Officials say seventy percent of homes in Tanzania should have at least one chemically treated bed net by two-thousand-six.

The United States Agency for International Development has a program called NetMark. The purpose is to make treated nets easier to get in several African countries. These include Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.

More than six hundred thousand bed nets were purchased in these countries through NetMark in two-thousand-two. It is important to treat the nets with chemicals again after six months. So NetMark also makes that possible. In addition, a mining company in Zambia developed a chemical to be sprayed in five cities to kill mosquitoes.

Experts say these ways to fight malaria are already working in Vietnam. Local health care workers are trained to recognize and treat the infection quickly. Pregnant women get medicine to prevent malaria, and families receive free bed nets. Health workers in Vietnam hope to reduce deaths from malaria by fifty percent over the next five years.

In Sri Lanka, a local group called the Sarvodaya Malaria Project prints materials about the disease. Children receive the information in school.

Also, workers spray houses and plants to kill mosquitoes. Workers close unused wells and waterways where the insects can lay eggs. Health workers in Sri Lanka visit houses in villages. They make sure families all know how to use nets on their beds, and how to re-treat them.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Karen Leggett. This is Robert Cohen.