17 March 2003
Cotonou, Benin – "Last month I got malaria. I am living in one of the most remote provinces in the country. By the time I reached a clinic where effective treatment was available, I almost died," said Alphonse Yamadjako, a 34-year-old cotton plantation worker from Benin. "And besides," he says, "I did not get my salary for the past four months. I almost ran out of money to pay for the medicines, and there are no good mosquito nets for sale in my village."
The Government of Benin today signed a funding agreement for US$2.4 million with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that will significantly boost its malaria prevention and treatment program. The expansion will make available insecticide-treated nets and anti-malarial drugs, intensify awareness campaigns and train health care workers in the most remote areas in the country, all packaged in community-based activities, intensifying cooperation with traditional healers and respecting local religious practices.
In Benin, a country of six million people and one of the poorest nations in the world situated between Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, and Burkina Faso, malaria drains community and personal resources and traps families in a relentless cycle of poverty. "Our 'Roll Back Malaria' work was in danger of slowing down due to lack of funds," said Dr Dorothe Kinde Gazard, the Director of Benin's National Malaria Control Program in Cotonou.
"Through our new Country Coordinating Mechanism, the CCM [a prerequisite for applying for support from the Global Fund], all our partners are now joining hands. The grant from the Global Fund is bringing together different Government Ministries, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private sector, and energizes activities in the domain of malaria prevention and treatment," said Dr Gazard. "With the CCM, and the money from the Global Fund, we now have the means drastically to speed up our work and achieve results."
The grant is being administered by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Benin. Various national NGOs working in Benin's rural regions are the sub-recipients of the Global Fund grants.