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Entertainment of Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Source: Ameyaw Debrah

"Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears" on exhibition till May 21

Accra became the first city in Africa to witness the unique photographs of internationally acclaimed New York City-based photographer, Adam Nadel that highlight the progress and challenges to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, focusing on the impact of malaria.

The multi-media exhibition illustrating the impact of malaria was launched at the National Museum of Ghana in Accra at a recent preview reception. Several hundreds of guests, including the Minister of Information, public health leaders and dignitaries, attended the preview of the exhibit entitled “Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears.” It is currently on display, free to the public, at the National Museum in Accra, till May21.

“Malaria: Blood Sweat and Tears” showcases the complex relationships between malaria, poverty and the need for international support for combating the disease on a grand scale. More than 40 images by Adam Nadel bring to life the personal stories of malaria sufferers and malaria experts from all over the world. The collection provides information on all aspects of malaria - from the history to the science - and captures the new positive outlook as a result of recent progress made in reducing malaria deaths in some African countries by over 50%.

“We are proud of this excellent portrayal of the fight against malaria. It is the people – the men, women and children - in these pictures that tell the story and show us what can be achieved. Countries are making progress and saving lives. This exhibition is a testament to their commitment and courage," said Sunil Mehra, Executive Director of Malaria Consortium.

The exhibition, which opened at the United Nation’s Headquarters in New York and has been shown at the World Health Organization in Geneva, was produced and conceived by the London-based Malaria Consortium, one of the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to comprehensive control of malaria, and photographer Adam Nadel. It was made possible with the generous support of Vestergaard Frandsen, a European-based company specializing in disease-control products, including the PermaNet long-lasting insecticidal net to prevent vector-borne diseases like malaria. The exhibit in Ghana was produced under the umbrella of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, which is the global framework for coordinated action against malaria

According to the World Health Organization’s 2011 World Malaria Report, in 2010 there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 106 endemic countries and territories in the world. An estimated 81% percent of these cases and 91% of deaths occurred in the WHO African Region. Globally, 86% of the victims were children under 5 years of age. There were an estimated 655 000 malaria deaths in 2010, which is 36 000 lower than the year before. While this decline represents significant progress, the mortality figures are still disconcertingly high for a disease that is entirely preventable and treatable.

Since 2003 funding for malaria control has reached unprecedented levels, enabling countries to scale up the distribution of effective malaria treatments, long-lasting insecticide mosquito nets and spraying the inside of dwellings with insecticide. However, although almost US$2 billion is available to tackle malaria - it falls short of the approximate US$5 billion required annually to achieve universal coverage with all prevention and treatment tools.

"We have five years to reach the Millennium Development Goals – this includes achieving a reduction in malaria deaths of 75%, significantly improving maternal and child health, and increasing a child's chances of a decent education. We have evidence that it can be done. What we need now is the global commitment that it will be done," said the Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership a.i., Thomas Teuscher. The launch of the exhibition, “Malaria: Blood, Sweat, and Tears” coincides with the annual observance of World Malaria Day commemorated every year on April 25. “This annual event provides an opportunity for the public health community and donors to reflect upon global progress made toward malaria control and the MDG goals," observed Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, Chief Executive Officer of Vestergaard Frandsen. "However, we should never forget the human toll this preventable disease takes on people, and Adam's images capture these stories in a very compelling exhibit. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with him, Malaria Consortium, and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership."

The exhibition “Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears” will be opened to the general public for a one-month period with free entry made possible by the generosity of a local sponsor, Airtel Ghana. Visitors to the exhibit will also have the opportunity to view winning photographs from a photo-essay competition entitled “What Does Malaria Mean to You?” created for local school children from ten selected Basic Schools in the Accra metropolis.

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