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  • Seoul lends a hand to Africa

    SMG 2488
  • Seoul City, UN Foundation agree to send mosquito nets for malaria prevention

    One African family can be helped with just one mosquito net worth about $10. Therefore, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has set out to donate insecticidal mosquito nets to Africa, where as many as 3,000 people die from malaria per day. Seoul City and the United Nations Foundation signed an agreement on Aug. 22 to participate in the “Nets Go! Campaign,” a drive devoted to collecting mosquito nets to send to Africa for malaria prevention.

    The “Nets Go! Campaign” is the Korean version established by the United Nations Foundation in 2006, which is an emulation of the “Nothing But Nets” program of the United States. Since its inception in Korea, the campaign has aimed to eliminate malaria in Africa, the leading cause of deaths on that continent.

    Seoul selected as UN Foundation’s first campaign partner

    The UN Foundation has raised over 30 billion won to date, allowing it to send more than 3 million mosquito nets to Africa and save more than 12 million lives. Korea was selected as the UN charity body’s first overseas partner country and the “Nets Go! Campaign” was launched here in April. Seoul is the first city to take the initiative to participate in the drive.

    Seoul City gives its collected donations to the UN Foundation. With Seoul’s help, this UN body is planning to buy 10,000 mosquito nets to send to a refugee camp in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa by the end of this year. Addis Ababa has as many as six refugee camps and needs about 40,000 mosquito nets.

    Malaria is a contagious disease transferred by mosquitos and is the leading cause of death in children. Africa accounts for about 90 percent of the world’s deaths from malaria, and most of these fatalities are helpless children under five years old. Experts say special mosquito nets are most effective, safer and yet simpler to use to combat malaria, compared to using preventive medicine, as these are potent and cause side effects, making the medication dangerous to children.

    “With Seoul City’s aggressive support, we hope that institutions and groups in Korea will participate in our campaign,” Leslie Creedon, the executive director of Development at the UN Foundation, said.

    Seoul holds Africa Night

    After Seoul City and the UN Foundation signed their memorandum of understanding, a motivating concert aimed at encouraging public participation in the campaign was held at Seoul Plaza. The concert, entitled “Night in Africa-Safe from Malaria,” highlighted the malaria-prone lives of Africans. The one-of-a-kind performance was directed by Abhay Wadhwa, a professor at the Lighting Research Center recognized as one of the most talented lighting artists of the 21st century.

    “With just one mosquito net costing $10, a four-member family can use this net for more than four years. To the Africans, this apparatus is not simply a mosquito net but a valuable item that protects lives,” a Seoul City official said. “This campaign will be the start of our greater efforts to hold relief campaigns with the cooperation of underdeveloped cities.”

    Seoul City established a foreign cooperative fund in 2005 in order to strengthen relief efforts to disaster-stricken countries around the world. In 2005, the Korean capital collected $500,000 in donations to help Hurricane Katrina victims in the United States, and in 2008, it helped Chinese earthquake victims with $300,000 and 100,000 bottles of water. In 2010, Seoul City has been actively helping Haiti earthquake victims, so far donating $100,000 worth of financial aid and providing emergency aid equipment.

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