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World Malaria Day kicks off disease-fighting campaign

mosquitoClimate change and growing resistance to traditional drugs pose increased challenges to the effort to wipe out malaria, but researchers and civil society organisations around the world aren’t giving up the fight.

Saturday — 25 April — marks World Malaria Day 2009. Championed by the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, the day will feature the kick-off of the partnership’s “Counting malaria out” campaign. The two-year campaign aims, by 2010, to provide universal prevention and care for all at-risk populations, and to cut the number of malaria cases and deaths in half.

The effort is part of the RBM Partnership’s Global Malaria Action Plan. Unveiled in 2008, the plan aims to achieve near-zero deaths from malaria by 2015.

According to the World Health Organisation, malaria kills a million people — including one child every 30 seconds — across the globe each year. Forty per cent of the world’s population is at risk of contracting the disease, which has already been observed spreading to new areas as warmer temperatures enable malaria-carrying mosquitoes to thrive.

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