Day 5: Malaria and poverty identified as inseparable issues for Africa Print E-mail
 Thursday January 25 2007

Malaria eradication key to poverty fight in Africa

By HENRY NEONDO, EMMANUEL ONYANGO

A member of the Global Health Advocates based in the United Kingdom yesterday said there is no tackling of poverty in Africa unless delegates at the World Social Forum discuss the issue of malaria.

Speaking in Nairobi yesterday, Louis da Gama said fighting malaria was fundamental in fighting poverty in Africa as nothing else constitutes the face of poverty in Africa like malaria.

“The biggest problem in relation to poverty in Africa is to fight malaria yet no one is discussing how this should be reduced,” rued da Gama.

He said many people in Africa spend their meagre earnings buying drugs, adding that each Government in Africa spends 40 per cent of their income fighting malaria alone.

“If this money were not spent on malaria, it would have gone to wealth creation and the general wellbeing of Africans,” he said.

Da Gama said the efforts of fighting poverty would be all crap if delegates at the WSF do not set a day or session to address malaria, which alone would make Africa meet three or four Millennium Development Goals.

He said delegates at the WSF should call for and offer practical help to governments in Africa, which include having children and pregnant women sleep under treated bednets, clinics with drugs, indoor residual spraying.

A commitment of US$ 1-2 million by each Government would be nothing compared to the loss incurred by these Governments.

In Kenya, a child dies every 5 seconds of malaria and the ministry of Health says between 30 to 50 per cent of all bed occupancy in hospitals is due to malaria.

Meanwhile, Somalia delegates attending the forum yesterday criticised the Kenyan Government for denying entry to Somalia refugees fleeing from the conflict in their country.

The delegates said Kenya’s closure of its borders was “a contradiction to the international law” and one which should be censured by the international community.

They further called on the World Social Forum to raise their voices against the present occupation of Somalia by Ethiopian troops.

“We would like to ask the forum to support opposition to foreign troops who have invaded Somalia,” said Asad Abdulahhi of the Somalia Civil Society (SCS).

He added: “ As seen before, the Somalia civilians have suffered the most since Kenya, in contradiction to international law, closed the border for refugees.”

The Somalia later joined delegates from Palestine and Lebanon to condemn United States’ war against terror.