United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will announce a global initiative today that steps up the fight against malaria - seeking to eventually wipe out a tropical scourge blamed for killing a million people a year.
In a video message for a World Malaria Day event at U.N. headquarters, Ban said the initiative will offer indoor spraying and bed nets treated with long-lasting insecticide "to all people at risk, especially women and children in Africa." The video was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
It will also ensure that public health facilities have access to effective malaria treatment and diagnosis, that health workers are trained to deal with the disease, and that research into its eradication is encouraged, Ban said.
Ban said he wants these measures in place in just a few years. "The aim is to put a stop to malaria deaths by ensuring universal coverage by the end of 2010."
The secretary-general said that several African countries "have made dramatic strides in malaria control, but the most affected nations remain off track to reach the goal of halting and reversing the incidence of the disease."