African Leaders Malaria Alliance Launched At U.N. General Assembly

On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday, African heads of state formed a 20-member African Leaders Malaria Alliance with the goal of eliminating deaths from malaria by 2015, the Associated Press writes. “With an estimated 500 million annual cases, Africa is the continent most affected by malaria, accounting for 86 percent of all cases and 91 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania said at the alliance’s launch,” according to the news service (9/24).

“The African Leaders Malaria Alliance will promote the efficient procurement, distribution and use of materials and medicines to control and treat malaria, still a major killer of African children in particular, a statement issued in advance of the launch said,” VOA News reports (Nyaira, 9/23).

The international community has already donated more than $3 billion to the project, the BBC reports, adding, “The money will pay for the distribution of 240 million insecticide-treated bed nets throughout sub-Saharan Africa by the end of next year” (9/23).

A second VOA News story on the alliance discusses the malaria initiative with Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, who commends the project, but emphasizes the need for African and global leaders, including President Obama, to fulfill their previous commitments to fighting a host of global health issues (Butty, 9/24).

U.N. Secretary-General Calls For International Focus On Maternal Mortality, Meeting MDGs

Xinhua examines U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, where he spoke of the need for international efforts to reduce maternal mortality and updated the world leaders on the international progress in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “Study after study shows that investing in women brings broad economic and social benefits,” Ban said during his address, adding, “Devoting resources to women’s health in particular is one of the smartest investments any society can make” (9/24). Also during the meeting, Ban called for the international community to “scale up its response to HIV among women and children,” which he said, are dependent on “more resources, used more efficiently, with a commitment to equity,” according to a U.N. News Centre release (9/23).

Related News

ABC News reports on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent commitment to expand health services to people in developing countries. The piece includes comments by Lawrence Gostin, the director of the Center for Law and the Public’s Health at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities, and consultant to the WHO (Hall, 9/24).

The Informer/ examines the recent appeal by international and Liberian non-governmental organizations to expand “long-term and progressive funding for universal healthcare coverage and free essential services.” The appeal came as Liberian leaders, including the vice president, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Health joined “world leaders from Ghana, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal and Sierra Leone in declaring its policies on free healthcare,” the news service adds (9/23).

Also during the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet called for world leaders to continue their support against poverty and hunger despite the global economic crisis,  Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal reports. “Bachelet called it a ‘paradox’ that billions of dollars have been spent to rescue the global financial system, while the budget for the U.N.’s World Food Program has been halved this year,” the news service writes. “In the 21st century, there are more than one billion people going hungry, one for every six people on the planet, and 50 million of them in Latin America,” Bachelet said (Dowling, 9/23).

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