The U.S. government is to release nearly $7 million to help extend the coverage of malaria prevention and control activities in African communities most affected by malaria.
The government through the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) said the money would be released under the Malaria Communities Program and will give specific attention to children under the age of five and women who are pregnant.
Announcing the first five faith-based organizations that will receive the grants, the US. Malaria Initiative Coordinator Admiral Tim Ziemer said “the program aims to strengthen the ability of faith based and community organizations to fight malaria, while also building local ownership”.
He said groups with local connections that have worked to build trust and provide hope are key partners in the effort to combat malaria at the local level.
Ziemer told VOA soon after the announcement that the communities program was formed to recruit and build capacity by taking advantage of existing networks in Africa. “… as we work along with the host governments we are also targeting networks of individuals to work in conjunction with the national malaria control plans to prevent, control and treat malaria.”
The malaria communities program is a $30 million program over four years. “In the first year it is $7million that will be given to five specific new community partners in the first round of countries”, said Adm Ziemer.
He added “we are committed to working with the partners to build their capacity so that their performance and their compliance with the grant is achieved.”
Ziemer also revealed that by next year the program will be opened up to all fifteen countries that are part of the program and the President's Malaria Initiative will be implemented in all the fifteen-focus countries.
The malaria communities program is a component of President Bush $1.2 billion Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) to work in 15 malaria endemic countries in Africa.