Thursday, September 15, 2005

Red Cross Spurs Anti-Malaria Campaign

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 — Colombo, Sri Lanka – It has been four months since the tsunami, and the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement continues to provide invaluable assistance to vulnerable families – notably it began an anti-malaria campaign.
At the request of the Ministry of Health, the Sri Lankan Red Cross (SLRCS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Federation), in cooperation with the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), are distributing treated mosquito nets across the Ampara district to tsunami affected and indirectly affected families, as part of a nationwide anti-malaria campaign.
The mosquito net distribution has reached over 66,000 people in Sri Lanka.
Ampara has one of the highest incidence rates of malaria in Sri Lanka, and mosquito nets, if used properly, provide simple but effective prevention against this deadly disease.
“Malaria can be a difficult disease to control, especially in a post-disaster situation, but mosquito nets are one of the easiest and most effective solutions,” said Jeff Chinn, American Red Cross relief team member.
As the rainy season approaches and the risk of vector borne diseases increases, distribution of mosquito nets becomes more essential. Since the tsunami struck, the SLRCS and the Federation have distributed over 66,000 nets in Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Ampara.
This distribution is just a small, but vital part of the Red Cross work that aims to improve the lives of vulnerable people in all areas of Sri Lanka.
Additional ServicesRed Cross services range from distributions of basic household items – mosquito nets, bed sheets, kerosene stoves – to provision of shelter, health and psychosocial care and complex water purification and sanitation systems, and construction of houses and health facilities.
Over 4,000 SLRCS volunteers are working along the coastline, with support from international technical experts, to improve daily living conditions in the areas where the tsunami struck hardest.
Health support is also being offered to the affected population – the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement is supporting affected people through provision of first aid, hospital facilities, mobile clinics, psychosocial support and health education. SLRCS and the Federation have undertaken to reconstruct, renovate, repair, and equip 34 health facilities.
The International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement is providing shelter to displaced families, and has distributed more than 50,000 tents, tarpaulins and plastic sheeting to families along the coastline. SLRCS, the Federation and other Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have committed to build 15,000 houses in Sri Lanka in Colombo, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Kalutara and Gampaha.
Water and sanitation systems have been repaired, upgraded and constructed in affected areas, and the Red Cross is providing over 250,000 liters of clean drinking water daily in Ampara district alone.
The bigger pictureWhile relief efforts along the coastline continue, the Red Cross focus remains on empowering vulnerable people across the country. Long-term SLRCS programs operating in areas directly and indirectly affected by the tsunami include first aid, primary health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and community based disaster preparedness.
“The Sri Lankan Red Cross was first on the scene providing post-tsunami emergency help at the grassroots level,” said Alasdair Gordon Gibson, head of the International Federation delegation in Sri Lanka. “We are providing broad-based support that extends beyond tsunami-affected areas and will strengthen vulnerable communities countrywide.”


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