Campaign against malaria

Written by Health-e News

Less than half the African countries that promised to remove taxes on bed nets have done so.

Most malaria-carrying mosquitoes attack at night, and bed nets are one of the most effective and safest ways of repelling them.

The Massive Effort Campaign, a global initiative funded by a Swiss insurance firm, Winterthur, is trying to get African countries to honour the promise they made in Abuja, Nigeria in 2000 to remove taxes and tariffs on the nets.

Of the 43 countries that agreed to remove the tax, only 17 have kept their promise. However, South Africa is one of the 26 countries that has not kept this promise.

“Surveys carried out in Gambia, Ghana and Kenya showed that sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net reduced the number of children dying from malaria by 25%, 17% and 33% respectively,” according to Massive Effort.

One of the biggest barriers to using the nets is their cost. In 14 African countries, import duties were between 30% and 42%. In a further 13, taxes were between 10% and 25%.

When Tanzania dropped the tax on bednets, the price of the nets dropped from $6 to $2.50.

Malaria is the leading cause of death among African children under the age of five. If a pregnant woman gets malaria, her chances of miscarrying or giving birth to a low weight baby are significantly increased.

Aside from the effect on the babies, malaria is estimated to cause some 10 000 maternal deaths a year ‘€“ mainly because malaria causes severe anaemia in the mothers.

Annually, malaria claims around 1.1 million deaths, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Health-e News

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