BEIJING - China has called for the eradication of malaria to mark National Malaria Day, which falls on Wednesday, according to a National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) statement. It said health and family planning departments across the country should report to local governments on malaria prevalence and inform the public about prevention. Medical personnel nationwide will receive training on malaria treatment. Those who plan to visit Africa and Southeast Asia, where malaria is common, will be informed about malaria prevention by inspection and quarantine departments as well as travel agencies. Of the 3,189 Chinese citizens who contracted malaria last year, only three were locally-contracted cases, a significant drop compared to 4,262 locally-contracted cases in 2010. The remaining cases were contracted outside China, through transfusions or unknown sources of infection, according to the NHFPC. "Malaria eradication: preventing imported cases" is the theme of the 10th National Malaria Day this year, which echoes the theme for Tuesday's World Malaria Day, "End malaria for good." World Malaria Day highlights the need for global efforts to control malaria. China's efforts on eliminating malaria have won approval worldwide. Microsoft founder Bill Gates praised China's work in malaria prevention in a lecture at Peking University in Beijing last month, and believes that China could lead the world in eradicating malaria. On his official account on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service, the billionaire philanthropist wrote after the lecture that he admires Chinese researcher Tu Youyou's endeavors in malaria-related scientific research, saying that Tu's discovery of the drug artemisinin had saved millions of lives worldwide. Tu and her team were able to extract a substance from artemisinin that proved effective in treating malaria. She won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for the discovery of anti-malaria compound in artemisinin, the first Chinese national to win a Nobel prize in science. According to the World Health Organization, pregnant women have a high risk of dying from complications of severe malaria. The organization's latest report shows that approximately 69 percent of pregnant women in 20 African countries do not have access to preventive medication. China plays an important role in the fight against malaria in Africa. The country aids African countries in treating malaria through biomedical research, training of health workers and provision of cheaper drugs. At a symposium in Nairobi last Friday, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu praised China's contribution in the fight against malaria, a leading cause of death among children and pregnant women in Africa "We applaud the Chinese scientists who discovered the ingredients for the Artemisinin Combination Therapy, which came at an opportune time when malaria treatment was proving to be a challenge globally," Mailu said. Other African countries that have recorded a dramatic decline in reported malaria cases due a strong partnership with China, include Kenya, Malawi and Togo. According to the World Malaria Report 2016, there were 429,000 deaths caused by malaria globally in 2015, a drop of 29 percent since 2010. wristbands with a message
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