Catholic Relief Services to Lead Malaria Fight in Benin

Catholic Relief Services | 27 Jun 2008
Reuters
Cotonou/Benin, June 27, 2008 - Catholic Relief Services (CRS) launched today the largest home-based malaria care campaign in the history of Benin.

Thanks to a 15.5 million grant from The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, CRS, which leads a four-member consortium, will work with more than 1,400 community-based organizations that will educate families and provide basic malaria care for children with the parasite.

"The scope and depth of this project is truly impressive," says Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, who plans to attend the event. "This program will have a tremendous impact on the lives of Benin's families. The community-based approach means children suffering from malaria will be attended to quickly. The best part is the communities will be helping their own."

The program will target the more than 2 million children under 5 years old who have been infected with malaria. They will receive Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapy (ACT) - a safe treatment that has proven effective. The program will enable most children under 5 who have malaria to be treated at home in less than 24 hours after the first symptoms appear.

CRS and its consortium partners will deliver ACTs in 14 of Benin's 34 health zones and train community groups to educate close to 2 million mothers, fathers and women caring for young children.

"Malaria is by far the most deadly tropical disease for children in Africa," says Hackett, noting that some 3,000 children die everyday of malaria in subSaharan Africa. "Parents feel tremendous pain when their child is sick with it. This program will educate millions of parents how to care for their children who have contracted malaria."

"CRS and its partners, Africare, Medical Care Development International, and Plan Benin are committed to doing their part to reduce the devastation caused by malaria," says Carla Brown-Ndiaye, CRS country representative for Benin. "Nothing will bring us more satisfaction than saving lives through this program."

Catholic Relief Services is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit www.crs.org.

[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]

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