Wednesday, August 17, 2011

USAID Expands Life-Saving Malaria Prevention Program in Africa

USAID Expands Life-Saving Malaria Prevention Program in Africa

August 17, 2011
Public Information: 202-712-4810

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced the expansion of its Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) program. IRS is the application of safe insecticides to the indoor walls and ceilings of a home or structure in order to interrupt the spread of malaria by killing mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite. Malaria is the number one killer in Africa.

Through the new IRS contract, the President's Malaria Initiative, led by USAID and implemented together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will provide technical and financial support to the Ministries of Health and National Malaria Control Programs in African countries to build country-level capacity for malaria prevention activities. The $189 million, there-year contract awarded by USAID to Abt. Associates will cover the implementation of IRS activities in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, with the possibility of expansion based on malaria control needs and availability of resources.

Activities include assessing the environment to ensure safe and effective use of insecticides, evaluating mosquito abundance and susceptibility to the insecticides, educating residents about IRS and how they should prepare their house for spraying, training spray teams, procuring insecticide and equipment, and monitoring and evaluating spraying activities.

"Here in Washington, a mosquito bite is a fleeting nuisance. But in all too many places, that sudden sting and scratch can be a death sentence. In a world being bound ever closer together, those places do not seem so far away," said Rear Adm. (RET) Tim Ziemer, U.S. Malaria Coordinator. "Preventing and treating malaria saves lives, contributes to a reduction in all-cause under-five mortality, improves the health of children in malaria-burdened regions, and contributes to socioeconomic development in areas most affected by malaria."

The United States is focusing on building capacity within host countries by training people to manage, deliver, and support the delivery of health services, which will be critical for sustained successes against infectious diseases like malaria. PMI continues to introduce and expand four proven and highly effective interventions in each of the target countries. Scale-up of the four interventions is complemented by a strong focus on extending expanding access in rural and underserved communities and further expanding community engagement for malaria prevention and control.

According to the World Health Organization, the estimated number of global malaria deaths has fallen from about 985,000 in 2000 to about 781,000 in 2009. In spite of this progress, malaria remains one of the major public health problems in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is the leading cause of death for children under five. Because malaria is a global emergency that affects mostly poor women and children, malaria perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty in the developing world. Malaria-related illnesses and mortality cost Africa's economy alone $12 billion per year.