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Canadian organizations come together in the fight against malaria – News Release

April 22, 2009 - Ottawa, ON – Today, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), the Canadian Red Cross, the Buy-A-Net Malaria Prevention Group and representatives from several organizations in Canada will meet to discuss malaria prevention in advance of World Malaria Day on April 25th. Malaria kills one million people each year and World Malaria Day commemorates global efforts to wipe out this devastating disease.

“Fighting malaria is a collaborative effort, both amongst organizations in Canada and worldwide,” says Canadian Red Cross Director General of International Operations Susan Johnson. “I am pleased to participate in discussions with other organizations, share best practices and build stronger relationships as we work towards our common goal to fight malaria and save lives.”

“The symposium will highlight the essential role that Canada has in the eradication of malaria, including the general public, the business community and government,” says Debra Lefebvre, Executive Director, Buy-A-Net Malaria Prevention Group. “I am very pleased with the opportunity for greater dialogue amongst all stakeholders, where we can share best strategies to strengthen and leverage the contributions made to combat this killer disease.”

Canada is a leader in malaria prevention. The Canadian Red Cross, with support from the Government of Canada and the Canadian public, has distributed 6.3 million insecticide-treated bed nets in Africa since 2003 and trained over 25,000 volunteers in malaria prevention. In June, the Canadian Red Cross will send 30,000 nets to Senegal as part of an integrated child survival campaign in which children aged five years and under will also receive vitamin A tablets and deworming medication.

“Interventions are needed to be effective in counting malaria out,” says CNA Director of International Policy and Development June Webber. “As nurses, we stress the importance of strengthening all dimensions of health systems in countries struggling to control malaria. Ensuring equitable access to prevention, health promotion and treatment services will contribute to effectively combating this deadly disease.”

For the last four decades CNA has worked actively to strengthen nursing and health system outcomes in more than 30 countries around the world. Guided by its vision of ‘Registered nurses: leaders and partners working to advance health for all’ and with funding support of the Canadian government and the knowledge and technical know-how of the nurses of Canada, CNA’s International Health Partnerships program works with national nursing associations in low-income countries to support their efforts to strengthen the profession and their leadership within health systems. Strengthening nursing capacity within primary health settings, where malaria-related health challenges are most evident, forms one of the program’s priorities.

Launched in 2004 and recognized as one of Canada’s leading malaria-fighting organizations, Buy-A-Net Malaria Prevention Group is Canada’s first grassroots, citizen-driven initiative aimed at malaria prevention. The volunteer-led campaign raises awareness about malaria as well as funds for the procurement of bed nets treated with long-lasting insecticide and anti-malaria medicine. Through the support of the Canadian public, over 60,000 bed nets have been distributed free of charge, one village at time, in partnership with community-based groups in Uganda, the group’s first target country.

This symposium is the first step towards a stronger collaboration in the fight against malaria, and participants are committed to continued joint efforts throughout the year and into 2010.

For more information about the Canadian Red Cross and its efforts to fight malaria please visit www.malariabites.net. For more information about CNA and its international health partnership program, please visit www.cna-aiic.ca. For more information about Buy-A-Net Malaria Prevention Group, please visit www.buyanet.ca.

For further information please contact:

Canadian Red Cross
Media line

Joanne Langlois
Media Consultant

Canadian Nurses Association
Lisa Brazeau
Director Corporate Communications