Millions to Get Malaria Help by 2010

Hundreds of millions of mosquito nets and anti-malaria kits are to be distributed by 2010, officials behind a campaign to halt about one million malaria deaths a year said.

But they urged donors not to ditch the campaign because of the economic crisis, saying there was a real chance the malaria epidemic could be eliminated in coming years.

“The resources to attack this problem – to eliminate malaria deaths – is there. We can achieve universal distribution of bed nets, of malaria medicine, of indoor spraying within 2010,” said Rajat Kumar Gupta, who chairs the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, some 600 million people are said to be at risk from the disease. Scott Case, a campaigner, said this means 300 million bed nets are required in the region.

Corporate leaders from Standard Chartered Bank, ExxonMobil and News Corporation have come together to launch a US$100-million fundraising campaign.

“We had a good start … $40 million of the $100 million has been committed,” said Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil chairman and chief executive officer.

He said he thought funding could be found despite the economic crisis, if the campaign can “demonstrate to donors that their investment for eradication has a return.”

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