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2010 National Black Members' Conference
7 August 2009

Conference commends UNISON’s International work including Action Aid, Water and sanitation in Gaza, creating awareness of corporate tax evasion in developing countries, HIV and Aids in Southern Africa, to name just a few.

Conference is, however, concerned about UNISON’s lack of work on the eradication of malaria, a killing machine that has, for so many years, blighted the lives of millions of people in Africa and Brazil. Mosquito bite is the cause of this deadly infectious disease.

In the last decade, the prevalence of malaria has been escalating at an alarming rate, especially in Africa.

·Malaria ranks third among major infectious disease threats in Africa, after pneumococcal acute respiratory infections and tuberculosis;

·Cases of malaria in Africa account for approximately 90% of malaria cases in the world;

·Malaria is now spreading to areas previously free of the disease. The Government has warned that the UK could also be hit by regular malaria outbreaks over the next five years because of global warming;

·Very high death rate in children under 5 years old;

·Adolescents and young adults are now dying of the disease;

·Malaria kills over 8000 Brazilians yearly.

Continental sub-Sahara Africa was never a part of the global malaria education programme. The eradication of malaria is very challenging due to the large land mass with recurrence, high costs, and subsequent maintenance. Also, and more significantly, little or no indigenous capacity is available to initiate and sustain malaria eradication programme.

There is an urgent need to develop educational mosquito awareness programmes to teach at local levels, how to recognise the symptoms of malaria, to provide home management, and to know when to refer cases to health centres where they exist. There is need to develop and test teaching guides to facilitate home management of malaria.

Socioeconomic and community studies are needed to understand the extent to which the communities will participate in new malaria control measures. Funding for local projects holds the key to health care in rural populations.

In Africa today, malaria is understood to be both a disease of poverty and a cause of poverty. Annual economic growth in countries with high malaria transmission has historically been lower than in countries without malaria.

Conference asks that:

1.The National Black Members Committee (NBMC) work with the NEC and the International Committee to draw up a programme for UNISON participation in work to eradicate malaria;

2.The NBMC circulate to all regions, within six months of this conference, draft proposals on UNISON engagement;

3.A progress report on UNISON malaria eradication action plan be bought to National Black Members conference in 2011.