The Democratic Republic of Congo will begin providing no-cost malaria drugs to children younger than age 15 and pregnant women, Health Minister Emilienne Raoul announced Tuesday, BBC News reports. The country also will provide no-cost HIV tests to children through the campaign, Raoul said (BBC News, 7/16).
Raoul at the campaign's launch said that although the drugs and tests will be available at no cost, the "medicines are for the sick and must not end up on the streets and in neighboring countries." According to AFP/Google.com, the theft and resale of medicines on the black market by hospital staff is a "major problem" in the country.
According to AFP/Google.com, HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria are the leading causes of death in the country. About 21,000 children younger than age five die from malaria annually in the country, according to UNICEF. The country already provides no-cost treatment for tuberculosis, AFP/Google.com reports (AFP/Google.com, 7/15).
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