Save the Children Canada

Save the Children Canada

April 22, 2009 14:36 ET

African Children to Receive Life-Saving Interventions

$20 million Committed to Saving Children from Disease

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 22, 2009) - Even in the face of trying economic times, Canada is showing its commitment to saving children in some of the world's poorest countries. This announcement comes in advance of World Malaria Day on April 25th, reminding Canadians of the common but killer disease's impact in many regions of the world.

Save the Children Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) are working together to reduce the number of needless deaths of children in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

"Two infectious diseases, pneumonia and malaria, account for over a quarter (27%) of global child deaths every year and are the leading causes of death in Sub-Saharan Africa," says David Morley, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. "We are grateful for the support of CIDA in helping us combat these diseases."

5.82 million children who die annually could be spared if they were delivered the life-saving interventions that already exist, which is why the Canadian government has committed $20 million to Save the Children towards this crucial goal. For 90 years Save the Children has been implementing programs in children's rights, emergency relief, education, child health and nutrition and child protection. This initiative will directly benefit approximately 1,100,000 children under five.

The cost to save a life ranges from $453 to $517; a small price for a child's life.

Studies have shown that children need to receive anti-malaria medication within 24 to 48 hours after onset of severe fever to avert death. In areas targeted by our program with CIDA, children under five will now be able to receive malaria treatment at the community level where the need is greatest to save lives. Canada has been the largest single country donor in the distribution of free long-lasting bed nets to poor and disadvantaged children under five and pregnant women from 2002 until 2007.

The goal is to both prevent and cure the diseases. With CIDA support, Save the Children will train existing groups of community health workers to assess, classify, and treat children with signs of infection. Local partners from the Ministry of Health will also be trained to support, supply, and supervise the workers. Families will be educated to recognize and seek care for signs that indicate serious disease in children.

Canadians can also become a part of the solution by supporting this and other programs for children in sub-Saharan Africa. Information and opportunities to get involved are available at www.savethechildren.ca.

Note to Editors: With programs in over 120 countries, Save the Children is the world's largest independent organization for children's rights. We deliver immediate and lasting improvements to children's lives worldwide.

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