DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Malaria Summit in Africa

By Caty Weaver

This is _________ with the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

On April twenty-fifth, African leaders will gather in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. They will plan action to fight a disease that affects the African continent more than any other. Malaria kills more than one-million people each year. The majority of those victims are the children of Africa.

Malaria is spread by a kind of mosquito. The disease can cause fever, head pain, stomach sickness and uncontrollable shaking. The most deadly form of malaria often causes a severe lack of iron in the blood. This is the most common reason for death from the disease.

The World Health Organization says malaria attacks poor people more than any other disease. It is a public health problem in ninety countries. However, more than ninety percent of malaria cases are in African countries south of the Sahara Desert.

The WHO says the cost of the disease in Africa is high. The disease prevents adults from working. It prevents children from going to school. Malaria can cause nutritional problems in children that damage their physical and mental development.

Two years ago the WHO, United Nations Children Fund, UN Development Program and World Bank started a program to end the disease. The program is called Roll Back Malaria. Its goal is to reduce the rate of malaria around the world by half.

Organizers of the program say one way to do this is to protect people from mosquitoes while they sleep. They say people should surround their beds with material that has been treated with chemicals to kill mosquitoes. Research shows that children who sleep under such bednets are fifty percent less likely to get malaria. Roll Back Malaria is working to increase local production of the bednets to help reduce the cost. The program plans to provide bednets for sixty-million African families during the next five years.

However, the organizers of Roll Back Malaria say bednets are just part of the answer. They say communities, governments, health services and development organizations have other responsibilities. They must make sure that every village and town can get effective medicines to treat malaria. They also must create systems for spreading new information about malaria correctly and quickly.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Caty Weaver. This is ___________________.

Voice of America Special English