Bush's visit to Africa puts spotlight on malaria

Mail & Guardian | June 27, 2007

As the wife of the United States president tours Africa, she will be shining a spotlight on malaria as well as Aids. While the former does not grab the same headlines, it far outstrips Aids as the continent's biggest child killer, claiming one young life every 30 seconds.

The malaria toll is numbing: between 300-million and 500-million cases and one million deaths each year; in some African countries it accounts for up to half of all hospital admissions; its economic cost is an estimated $12-billion per year.

But slowly, hope is emerging because of new political will, more funding from programmes like US President George Bush's malaria initiative, better drugs and more powerful anti-mosquito weapons -- including the pesticide DDT, long reviled but now rehabilitated by the international health community.

During her stay in Mozambique on Wednesday, Laura Bush was due to visit a site near the Mozal aluminium smelter, where authorities want to spray house walls with DDT to ward off mosquitoes, using funds from the US malaria initiative that commits $1,2-billion over the next five years. Of the target 15 countries, about half are expected to use some of the money to spray with insecticides. more »

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