mosquito_net.jpgUNICEF has allocated more than $8 million in new funds to distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ray Chambers, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, said Thursday that the 20 million long-lasting mosquito nets will provide protection for 40 million people.

UNICEF’s contribution follows a previous allocation of $4.8 million, which “establishes a critical link in the path to universal access to these life-saving interventions by the end of 2010,” Mr. Chambers said in a statement.

“With over 150 million nets set to be delivered by next year, I remain extremely grateful for Ann Veneman’s leadership in saving so many from this disease,” he added, referring to the Executive Director of UNICEF.

Last year Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a call for the world to work towards universal access to malaria-prevention tools by the end of 2010 and then a target of near-zero malaria deaths by 2015.

Only 56 percent of people in malaria-affected areas have access to insecticide-treated mosquito nets. Last week the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced it would provide 30 million nets in Nigeria, one of the countries worst affected by malaria.

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