Anti-malaria campaign starts in Paris

09 Sep 2008
Afrique en ligne
Paris, France - An international anti-malaria campaign was due to be launched here Tuesday with the inauguration, by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, of a photo exhibition on the disease that kills between two and three million people every year, one of the project's initiator, Michèle Barzach, told PANA.

Entitled "To decide is to win: Together, let's make malaria a disease of the past", the international anti-malaria campaign provides for a series of meetings between North and South actors engaged in the fight against malaria.

The campaign, featuring "The Friends of the Europe Global Fund, in partnershup with 'Roll Back malaria', the Global Fund and the European Alliance against Malaria'', aims to ensure that life-saving drugs reach the poorest patients, explained Mrs Barzach, a former French health minister.

"We have everything we need to overcome malaria. Let us mobilise to do it in such a way that this disease belongs to the past. We cannot hope to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without mobilisation against malaria," she said.

According to international financial institutions, malaria causes a loss of earning averaging US$12 billion in the gross domestic product (GDP) of sub-Saharan Africa every year.

In some African states, malaria accounts for 40% of public health expenditure and is among the major causes of mortality among children aged between 0 and 5 years.

"We want to take advantage of France's position, the first contributor to the Global Fund, which finances 2/3 of the fight against malaria, and of its chairmanship of the European Union to exhort the international community to mobilise against this disease. Once again, we have the means to overcome this disease," the president of the Friends of the Europe Global Fund insisted.

Saying malaria "is a fight that affects us all", the promoters of the international mobilisation campaign have chosen the Pont des Arts, in the heart of Paris, to exhibit - till 29 August - photos of the ravages of the diseases taken by William Daniels in the most affected parts of the world.

The promoters of the campaign also highlighted the encouraging results recorded in several African countries, including Rwanda, Togo and Zambia, thanks to the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

The use of this prevention technique led to a 51% drop in infant mortality in Ethiopia, according to the promoters of the campaign.