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Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:08 UK

Africa leaders unite on malaria

Mosquito, file image
The leaders will invest in nets to deter malaria-carrying mosquitoes

Fourteen African heads of state are due to launch a scheme aimed at ridding the continent of almost all malaria-related deaths within six years.

More than $3bn (£1.8bn) has already been raised to fund the project.

The money will pay for the distribution of 240 million insecticide-treated bed nets throughout sub-Saharan Africa by the end of next year.

Malaria accounts for a quarter of all deaths of children under five years old in Africa.

Rwanda is one of the countries involved in the new scheme, and Health Minister Richard Sezeibera admitted the disease posed a huge challenge.

This launch will certainly add momentum and impetus to what is already happening on the ground in Africa
Rwandan Health Minister Richard Sezeibera

"Malaria stills kills more people in Africa than HIV/Aids and tuberculosis combined... we need more funds to fight it," he told the BBC's Network Africa.

But he said a lot of progress had been made in fighting the disease - and that politicians had helped the process.

"There's been a lot of mobilisation by political leaders and this has brought results on the ground," he said.

"So this launch will certainly add momentum and impetus to what is already happening on the ground in Africa."

The leaders will announced the new body - African Leaders Malaria Alliance (Alma) - on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York.



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