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UN appeals for $3.2 billion to meet malaria goal

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The global campaign to fight malaria is appealing for $3.2 billion to try to reach the U.N. goal of "near-zero" deaths from the mosquito-borne disease by 2015.

There has been "great progress" in reducing malaria deaths using bednets, insecticide spray and drugs, said Ray Chambers, the U.N. secretary-general's special envoy for malaria.

He cited a World Health Organization report in December, which used figures from 2010, saying malaria deaths had decreased by over one-third. Since then, he said at a news conference Monday, the world has delivered 160 million additional bednets "so we expect the number of deaths to be much less now."

Chambers said that in the last six years, the campaign to fight malaria has raised over $6 billion.

"Now we have to raise $3.2 billion to get us to the point of having a chance to be at near zero deaths by 2015," he added.

Princess Astrid of Belgium, a special representative for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, told the press conference ahead of World Malaria Day on Wednesday that 90 percent of malaria cases occur in Africa.

"Every time I meet patients, my main message is malaria is preventable and treatable but prevention and treatment require tremendous efforts and funding," she said.