African heads of state and ministers of health gather here today for the annual international Africa Malaria Day (AMD) celebration which focuses on the commitment made by African leaders in Abuja, Nigeria in 2000 to roll back malaria.

David Robertson, a disabled world explorer on a "Drive Against Malaria" to raise funds will join the events in Lusaka following the two-week East Africa leg of his journey, where he visited malaria programs to collect lessons learned and success stories. Since 1998, Robertson has been drawing international attention to malaria by driving on a series of trans-continental trips.

This initiative, supported by WHO, UNICEF, Exxon Mobil, Population Services International (PSI), mosquito net manufacturers and a number of local partners, complements AMD activities being organized by ministries of health and supported by PSI country programs across the continent.

In southern Sudan, PSI will join hands with the Secretariat of Health (SOH) to launch the country's first long lasting insecticide treated "Dumuria" (sleeping tent), or mosquito net. This allows Sudanese families to adhere to cultural sleeping practices whilst being protected from malaria carrying mosquitoes. PSI/Sudan is also supporting the SOH to organize a parade and sponsored soccer match to commemorate AMD.

In Tanzania, President Mkapa will preside over an event focusing on the "Malaria Haikubaliki ("Malaria is not acceptable") campaign. PSI has arranged for Afande Selle, a famous rap musician to perform his "Malaria Hailkubaliki" song as part an AMD musical performance. PSI's campaign addresses the perception amongst many Africans that malaria is an inevitable part of life. The campaign is promoted by PSI/Tanzania with support from other local partners including the national malaria control program and funding from the British Department for International Development (DFID).

AMD activities in Tanzania will also include mobile video shows on malaria prevention and treatment and a "Tanzanian Net Manufacturer of the Year" award. PSI is an active member of AMD organizing committees in many countries, and, together with National Malaria Control Programs, WHO, UNICEF, USAID and other Roll Back Malaria partners plans the country level activities each year.

For a complete listing of PSI AMD events in 13 countries, visit psi

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