Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 09:56 UK

Congo to give free malaria drugs

A boy wears a miniature mosquito net on his head to promote malaria awareness
Mosquito nets are a key part of the fight against malaria

Anti-malaria medication will be available free to children and pregnant women in the Republic of Congo.

Malaria kills some 21,000 children under five each year, the UN says.

But Health Minister Emilienne Raoul warned that the medicines were for the sick, and must not end up for re-sale on the streets or in other countries.

Correspondents say theft and re-sale of medicines is a major problem in Congo. The medication will be free to children under the age of 15.

Treatment for tuberculosis, one of the infections linked to HIV, is already free of charge in the country.

TB, malaria and HIV/Aids are the three top killers in Congo.

She also announced that children would be entitled to free Aids tests.

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