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Amhara National Regional Health Bureau and Lions-Carter Center Sightfirst Initiative Launch Third Integrated Malaria and Trachoma (Maltra) Campaign


Contact: Amhara Regional Health Bureau, 058-220-1722/ 058-220-9096), The Carter Center Ethiopia (Tel.251-11- 663 18 63/058-222-1748)

Bahir Dar... The MalTra campaigns are a huge joint undertaking between the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) and Lions-Carter Center Sightfirst Initiative held twice a year to tackle two of the major scourges of humanity in Amhara region: malaria and trachoma.

"A total of 9.29 million people in Amhara received trachoma treatment in the first two MalTra campaigns, now in MalTra 3 we aim to deliver services to over 9 million in just one week," said H. E. Ato Ayalew Gobezie, President of Amhara National Regional State in his opening address in Woreta town. "Together, we will be targeting the eligible population of 71 Woredas in South Gondar, North Gondar, Awi, East Gojjam, and West Gojjam zones."

During the campaign all residents in the targeted areas will be offered Zithromax for the treatment and prevention of trachoma and all fever cases will be tested and treated for malaria. The campaign has secured over 9 million doses of Zithromax donated by Pfizer Inc. (valued at over 180 million USD. Malaria diagnostics and medications for about 75,000 cases have been made available by the Federal Ministry of Health.

"Previous Maltra campaigns have been a phenomenal success," said The Hon. World Laureate Dr. Tebebe Y. Berhan, representative of the Lions Clubs International Foundation. He added, "For this campaign a total of 4,342 village teams and 1,009 supervisors have been trained and equipped. The achievements of this battalion of health workers and volunteers will be nothing short of a miracle." The MalTra 3 campaign will be the largest mass treatment campaign the world has ever seen in the history of trachoma control.

In addition to free treatments the campaign includes health education on the prevention and control of malaria and trachoma delivered through schools, the radio and a mobile video van.

The key malaria health education messages being delivered before and during the campaign are for people to seek treatment as soon as possible after a fever develops, sleep under a mosquito net every night, and to maintain nets by repairing any holes and washing them every 3-4 months. The key trachoma messages are to wash children's faces twice a day, build and use household latrines and participate in Zithromax distribution.

The launch in Woreta town was attended by officials from the ANRS Health Bureau, Pfizer Inc., the International Trachoma Initiative, Lions Clubs International, The Carter Center and CBM.

The Federal Ministry of Health, all involved sectors in the ANRS including all zones and woredas are acknowledged for their exceptional leadership and implementation of the MalTra campaign. Lions Clubs International Foundation deserves special recognition for its generous funding support to implement the trachoma control program, The Carter Center for its technical and financial assistance, Pfizer Inc. and International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) for their Zithromax donation and all other local and international partners (WHO, UNICEF, Global Fund, etc.) for their contribution towards the fight against malaria and trachoma.

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