27 February 2009
Press Release
AFR/1817
DEV/2734

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

UNITED NATIONS REPORT SAYS AFRICAN COUNTRIES ALMOST HALFWAY TO MALARIA MILESTONE


NEW YORK, 27 February (Office of Special Envoy) -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has received a report from his Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, citing important progress towards achieving the Secretary-General’s goal of providing all endemic African countries with malaria control interventions by the end of 2010.  However, the report also emphasizes that a more intensive effort will be needed to meet the Secretary-General’s deadline.


More than 40 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa now has access to long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs), compared to less than 10 per cent in 2005, according to the report.  More than 140 million mosquito nets have been distributed to date, offering protection to nearly 300 million people (each net offers protection for two people).  Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicentre of the world’s malaria control activities, with over 90 per cent of malaria deaths occurring on the continent. 


This new report coincides with the one-year anniversary of Mr. Chambers’ appointment as the first Special Envoy for Malaria and commends the Secretary-General for leading the global malaria effort.


“At this moment, we can point to definite indicators of progress, with data revealing that LLINs now have been distributed to more than 40 per cent of the population in endemic African nations,” Mr. Chambers writes.  “This signifies perhaps the most encouraging development in a year that featured many noteworthy accomplishments.”


The report, which also underscores last year’s announcement that the world can reach near-zero deaths from malaria by 2015, stresses that, while malaria-related objectives are within sight, a failure to increase momentum further still will result in falling short of targets.


Noting that only 671 days remain until the Secretary-General’s deadline for universal coverage, Mr. Chambers observes, “At this unique moment in history, when dedicated leadership, proven interventions, available resources and collective will have converged to turn the tide against this scourge, we cannot permit complacency to dull our resolve.”


Mr. Chambers adds, “Over 140 million LLINs have been distributed over the past three years,” and African countries are making the necessary preparations for the “over 240 million LLINs already financed for delivery between now and December 2010”. 


He emphasizes that the “same thought and energy that guided LLINs in 2008” will govern efforts pertaining to other essential interventions, such as treatment in public health facilities, the provision of rapid diagnostic tests and the production of an adequate number of antimalarial medicines -– artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs).


The Special Envoy encourages an augmentation of current initiatives to ensure the completion of the Secretary-General’s mission, including the fulfilment of financial commitments made by donors.  Along with funding and implementation partners, Mr. Chambers will track key indicators on a quarterly basis, exposing advances and impediments alike, in an effort to overcome obstacles and maximize efficiency.


Mr. Chambers devotes particular attention to praising the Secretary-General, whose “vision has guided the world to this remarkable humanitarian opportunity.  His leadership, especially his statements on the need for donor nations and international organizations to not forget the plight of the developing world during this financial crisis, will continue to serve as the most valuable asset in the global fight against malaria.”


Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, said on the occasion of the anniversary:  “Ray Chambers’ first year as Special Envoy corresponds with a historic period for malaria.  He has been an exceptional asset in generating action behind, elevating awareness of, and increasing resources for, global malaria efforts.  The Roll Back Malaria Partnership congratulates Mr. Chambers for all his accomplishments to date.  We look forward to the Special Envoy's continuing active engagement in the RBM Board and to working closely with him to achieve universal coverage of malaria-control interventions by 31 December 2010.”


For further information, please contact Minh-Thu Pham, Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, at tel.:  212 610 9085; mobile:  917 838 1822; or e-mail:  MPham@amelior.org.


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For information media • not an official record