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Bednets save 80,000 children from malaria

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Bednets delivered by UKaid have prevented more than 80,000 child deaths in the developing world, Douglas Alexander announced today.

In all, 14.6 million bednets have been provided so far and another 2.7 million are currently on their way some of the world's poorest countries.

With just one year to go, today's announcement means the UK is on track to meet the pledge the Prime Minister made in 2008 to deliver over 20 million bed nets by the end of 2010 to help prevent 110,000 child deaths.

Every year 250 million people become severely ill with malaria and around one million will die from the disease. The majority of these deaths are children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria accounts for one in five of all childhood deaths in Africa.

This figure is all the more tragic because malaria is a wholly preventable disease; but sleeping under a bednet is a simple and effective way of avoiding infection.

By helping to increase the number of people sleeping under a net, UKaid has helped to cut deaths from malaria by almost 50 per cent in some African countries.

In Zambia, malaria deaths reported from the health centres have declined by 66 per cent. And in Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sierra Leone DFID has exceeded its initial targets for delivering bed nets.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said:

"It is an appalling tragedy that every thirty seconds a child in Africa dies from malaria. But thanks to UK support we are winning the fight against this deadly yet preventable disease by ensuring families sleep safe under the protection of a bednet.

"Today I am proud to announce that UK aid has delivered over 14 million lifesaving bed nets since 2008.

"This means we are well on target to meet the Prime Minister's pledge to deliver 20 million bednets by the end of 2010 to help prevent 110,000 child deaths."