Friday 24 April 2009

World Malaria Day Statement

‘The cost of preventing and treating malaria is only a fraction of what the disease costs us in terms of lost lives, lost income, lost productivity, lost learning’ Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has said. ‘The world must get its priorities right in tackling this preventable and curable disease, which claims a million lives a year, and causes the death of a sub-Saharan African child ever 30 seconds.’

Speaking on the eve of World Malaria Day, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town added ‘with half the globe’s population at risk from malaria, including within substantial areas of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, I fully endorse the call of Bishop Dinis Sengulane of Libombo Diocese in Mozambique, for us all to take time on 25 April to consider how we can contribute to overcoming this scourge. We must continue to pray for all those infected, affected, and at risk – but we must also act wherever we can to defeat the menace of malaria.’

He underlined the need for better information on preventing, curing and eliminating malaria, saying ‘First, we must get rid of stagnant water wherever possible, and ensure everyone in malarial areas has mosquito nets. Second, people must understand that swift medical treatment can make all the difference in saving lives and limiting the effect of the disease – do not delay in getting yourself, or your children, to the clinic if you think you may be infected! Third, the international scientific community needs to make this a far higher priority, reflecting its impact on the world as a whole.’ He added ‘It is unacceptable to see malaria merely as a “disease of the poor” and for medical research, and those who fund it, to focus disproportionately on diseases largely in the developed world, which impact on far fewer people globally.’

Noting that in some areas of Africa and elsewhere, steady progress was being made, the Archbishop nonetheless urged greater urgency, in pursuit of the UN Secretary General’s 2010 target for delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment to all people at risk of malaria. ‘In partnership with Hope Africa, the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund, and others in the US, UK and elsewhere, the Anglican Church in Southern Africa will continue to do what it can to achieve this necessary goal’ he concluded.

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