Kagame to Attend Africa-Led Malaria Alliance Launch

Edwin Musoni | 22 Sep 2009
New Times (Kigali)
President Paul Kagame is tomorrow scheduled to attend the launch of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) at the UN headquarters in New York.

ALMA which will become operational tomorrow is an inter-governmental organization dedicated to ending malaria deaths.

The purpose of the Alliance is to provide a forum for high level, collective advocacy to ensure efficient procurement, distribution, and utilization of malaria control interventions.

A statement from ALMA notes that President Kagame has confirmed his attendance.

Other countries taking part in the launch include; Benin, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zambia.

"Africa's leaders are joining together to defeat malaria because the disease represents one of the biggest health and economic challenges to Africa and as a major killer of children, malaria accounts for one quarter of all deaths of children under-five years in Africa," reads the statement.

Applauding the establishment of ALMA, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers said: "In embracing the mantle of leadership, Africa's leaders have embarked on a historic mission to rid their continent of malaria."

Chambers added that by creating ALMA and joining together in a cooperative effort to defeat the deadly disease, Africa will reap tremendous benefits in cost-savings, efficiency, and sharing of best practices-all of which will translate into millions of lives saved.

"The launch of ALMA is a critical step in the fight against malaria in Africa. Significant reductions in mortality are now being demonstrated in parts of Africa where target levels of intervention coverage have been reached," said the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan.

Today in Africa, 50 million pregnant women are affected by malaria and more than 500,000 women die each year from the disease.