22,000 children a day protected from malaria by Red Cross/Red Crescent societies and their partners in 2006

    GENEVA, Switzerland, April 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Red Cross and Red Crescent
national societies and their partners protected some 22,000 new children each
day from malaria in Africa in 2006. This results from the distribution of 8.3
million long lasting insecticidal nets to mothers of children under the age of
five, says the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies on Africa Malaria Day which will be marked on April 25.
    "Despite this spectacular achievement, malaria is still one of the most
devastating global public health problems with more than one million deaths
every year. Some 3,000 children die of malaria every day," says Dr. Pierre
Duplessis, Canadian Red Cross Secretary-General. More than 80 per cent of
cases occur in Africa, south of the Sahara.
    In 2006, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies distributed 2.2
million nets in Niger, 875,000 in Sierra Leone by Canadian Red Cross and also
supported large distribution campaigns in Kenya (3.4 million nets distributed)
Angola and Rwanda. Approximately another 7 million children under the age of
five are expected to receive nets in 2007. Canadian Red Cross has already
distributed more than 2.5 million nets and plans to distribute another 2.7
million nets this fall to Burkina Faso and Madagascar through funding from the
Canadian International Development Agency.
    "We believe these efforts are only effective if people who receive nets
know how to use them," explains Dr. Duplessis. "That is why Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies organize Hang Up campaigns immediately after the
distribution and "Keep Up" programmes for the three years thereafter.
Volunteers play an important post-campaign role when visiting households with
pregnant women and young children to make sure the nets are properly used and
children do sleep under them," he adds.
    Keep Up programmes started in Togo in 2005. They were extended later to
Mozambique and Kenya. Similar plans are being developed in Ghana, Rwanda,
Sierra Leone and Uganda.
    Besides the massive distribution of nets and the mobilization of
volunteers to make sure the nets are used, the International Federation is
also involved in rapid response to emergency situations in Africa, for
instance by making nets available during the recent floods that affected
eastern and southern Africa to prevent an increase in malaria cases. It is
also working with governments to ensure that appropriate malaria treatment is
    Access to nets for people living with HIV is also a priority, as they are
among those at higher risk for developing malaria, just like young children
and pregnant women. The International Federation is working with more than 25
partners representing international agencies, institutions and
non-governmental organizations.
    Canadians wishing to support these activities are encouraged to
contribute by donating online at www.redcross.ca, calling 1-800-418-1111 or
contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office. Cheques should be made
payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "Malaria Mosquito-Net Campaign"
and mailed to Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite
300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.

    Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red
Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and
185 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve
the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada
and around the world.

For further information:

For further information: Canadian Red Cross, Media Relations Office,
(613) 740-1994

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