Archbishop Commends Africa's Anti-Malaria Effort

Stresses Commitment of Catholic Health Care Workers

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NEW YORK, OCT. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is acknowledging the efforts, particularly by African leaders, to combat malaria, and is underlining the need to eradicate this disease.



Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, made this appeal Thursday before the U.N. General Assembly in a meeting on the new economic partnership for Africa's development.

The meeting focused particularly in the progress made since 2001 in the "Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly in Africa."

The Holy See delegate affirmed that he is "pleased to see such progress made over the last decade in malaria control efforts."

"We are heartened by the commitment of the members of [the African Leaders Malaria Alliance] to work together to translate their commitment into greater efforts to eradicate this disease," he said.

The prelate noted that "malaria takes the lives of nearly 1 million people each year, almost 90% of whom reside in Africa."

"Approximately 3.3 billion people worldwide remain at risk of malaria," he added, "resulting in 250 million annual cases, 86% of which occur in Africa."

Strategies

The archbishop stated, "Resources must continue to be allocated to ongoing research into developing safe and cost-efficient vaccines as well as medicines to treat those who are infected."

He also underlined the "provision of reliable information on malaria to decision-makers at household, community, district and national levels, enabling them to take appropriate control and surveillance strategies."

Archbishop Chullikatt highlighted the work of "numerous individuals in Catholic health care working on the front lines in countries in Africa to assist those suffering from malaria."

"The selfless service of these individuals as well as so many others demonstrates their commitment to the wellbeing of the human family, especially those who are suffering," he affirmed.

The prelate pointed out that "these organizations not only provide resources and technical skills necessary to assist those affected by malaria but also have worked to foster greater development throughout Africa."

"With education, infrastructure and health care programs, often times in the poorest and most vulnerable communities," he said, "these organizations are vital partners for the long-term development of Africa."

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Full text: http://www.holyseemission.org/14Oct2010NEPAD.html