Holy See Notes Malaria Still a Threat

Calls for Making Treatment More Available to Poor

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NEW YORK, OCT. 21, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See says malaria is still a major threat to human security — someone dies of it every 30 seconds — but the solution is helping the poverty-stricken prevent and treat the disease.

This was the observation made by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, at the 63rd U.N. General Assembly on Oct. 15.

The prelate noted that a recent United Nations decision to “give greater attention to developing countries, especially in Africa, is a positive step in the right direction, particularly because it recognizes that malaria can be substantially reduced by public awareness, education and committing resources toward research and treatment.”

He affirmed that malaria continues to be a priority, “given that in the last 15 years there has been an increased prevalence of the disease — which could well double the death rate in the next 20 years. […] Each year between 300 and 500 million people contract malaria which kills over 1 million people — at least one death every 30 seconds. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of such deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and the majority of victims are children under 5 years of age — with almost 3,000 children dying every day in that region.”

Archbishop Migliore proposed that the worldwide focus in addressing malaria should be on research, prevention and treatment.

“Individuals must be able to receive affordable, safe and, where necessary, free diagnostic testing and drugs,” he said. “Proper diagnosis is available and infected individuals can make full recovery if provided with the adequate means. Efforts should be made so that appropriate treatment is accessible to those who are suffering. […]

“In a particular way my delegation calls the attention to positive efforts in assisting those in need. One is reminded of the importance of educating and helping families care for their loved ones who have contracted malaria. […] Notwithstanding other serious infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis that demand equal attention, our efforts on malaria cannot be sidelined. Clearly, the global community must remain committed to fight all diseases which threaten human lives and security.”

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-24010?l=english

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