The US government through its Agency for International Development (USAID) yesterday donated insecticides worth K3.2 billion to Zambia for malaria control.
USAID assistant administrator for global health, Kent Hill handed over the insecticides to Government at a ceremony in Lusaka's Ng'ombe township where Health Minister Angela Cifire also launched the 2006 malaria Indoor Residual Spray (IRS) campaign.
Dr Hill said in total, USAID would provide US $7.6 million equivalent of K28 billion to support Zambia's activities under the National Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) this year.
The donation comes in support of the ministry of Health's IRS programme, which had been in place since 2000. During the 2006-07-malaria season more that 700,000 structures in 15-targeted districts would be treated protecting 4.5 million people.
"I applaud the Government of Zambia for its efforts to save the lives of women and children while using safe and effective methods to combat this deadly disease," Dr Hill said.
Funding for malaria control in Zambia was through the US president's malaria initiative (PMI) that was aimed at reducing malaria related deaths by 50 per cent in 15 African countries by reaching 85 per cent of the most vulnerable groups.
He observed that malaria was a major health problem in Zambia accounting for nearly 4.3 million clinical cases and an estimated 50,000 deaths per year.
US ambassador to Zambia Carmen Martinez and World Bank country manager Ohene Nyanin reaffirmed their continued support to the Zambian Government in fighting malaria.
Ms Cifire commended the donor community for its continued support in the fight against malaria and assured that the donated insecticides would be used diligently so that several lives could be saved from malaria.
Government through President Mwanawasa had shown the political will in combating malaria.
Ms Cifire said her ministry would not relent in its efforts to win the battle against malaria especially that there was huge donor support.
She appealed to the spray teams in the targeted districts to conduct the house spraying campaign professionally emphasising that the public should also cooperate once such teams visited their homes for the exercise to run smoothly.
The US government had also spent approximately $ 570 million on HIV/AIDS activities in Zambia under its Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS initiatives, visiting Global AIDS coordinator Mark Dybul has said.
He explained that the money was not part of the 30 per cent from the Global Fund initiative.
Ambassador Dybul stressed the need for people to continue using abstinence and safe sex approach during sexual intercourse, as there was no cure for HIV/AIDS yet.
The envoy said this when he toured Maina Soko's Military Hospital clinical Laboratory and Library facilities.
"There is no likelihood that we are going to have an HIV/AIDS cure and so we should not talk about a cure as we are miles and miles away from finding it. The best is for people to abstain and practice safer sex," the envoy said.
He commended the ministry of Health and the defence forces for coming up with HIV/AIDS programmes that assisted employees to access treatment.