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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007, 05:42 GMT 06:42 UK
Child health drive for Madagascar
Insecticide-treated nets are now being used across Africa
Madagascar has embarked on a major campaign against malaria and measles in an effort to reduce the country's infant mortality rates.

Malaria-hit regions are due to receive 1.5m insecticidal mosquito nets and almost 3m children under five will be vaccinated against measles.

Vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets will also be given, to boost their immune systems.

Malaria and measles claim the lives of a million African children each year.

The streets of Fianarantsoa, Madagascar's second city, were lined with thousands of people to watch the launch of the country's Mother and Child Health Week, the BBC's Jonny Hogg reports.

Nearly 60,000 people have been involved in the organisation of what is the most ambitious healthcare programme ever carried out in the country.

It is hoped that, by the end of the week, all young children on the island will be able to sleep under a mosquito net.

Madagascar has already had considerable success in reducing infant mortality.

According to recently released Unicef figures, there has been a 43% drop in child deaths in the last decade.

However, 60,000 children still die each year from what Unicef describes as largely preventable diseases.


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