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|Major Boost For Malaria Programmes In Somalia|
Nairobi, June 28 2004 (Sapa-AP) – A fund set up to combat three of the world's most devastating diseases has given aid agencies working in Somalia $8,9-million (almost R60-million) to combat malaria over the next two years.
The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria granted the money to the United Nations children's agency and eight other aid agencies to distribute insecticide-treated nets and improve preventive treatment in the country's prenatal clinics, said Andrea Berloffa of the Somalia Aid Co-ordination Body.
The grant will also help provide anti-malarial drugs to 520 public health facilities, Berloffa said in a statement.
Malaria kills more than a million people a year, with 90 percent of these deaths occurring in Africa, mostly children under the age of five, acording to the UN.
"This grant will help reduce death and illness of children and women in the country," Berloffa said. "For a country that has been devastated by conflict, floods and drought, and with very little internal infrastructure, this kind of support will significantly accelerate prevention and control efforts."
More than four million Somalis will benefit from the grant, Berloffa added.
The UN says malaria is a major health concern in Somalia, accounting for about 12 percent of all illnesses among children under five years of age in central and southern parts of the Horn of Africa nation.
Somalia, which has a population of about 7 million, has not had an effective
central government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.