Angolan authorities marked World Malaria Day Friday by announcing an ambitious plan to scale down the number of deaths caused by the deadly disease.
The health ministry said the country planned to bring down the malaria mortality rate from 30,000 recorded in 2003 to less than 8,000 this year as a result of initiatives to combat the disease.
"We can surely say that the number of deaths caused by malaria are down," Health Minister Ruben Sikato said.
He said the awareness campaign on preventing malaria, mainly through the use of mosquito nets, had paid dividends in Angola where health infrastuctures had been crippled by nearly a 30-year civil war that ended in 2002.
The United States non-governmental organisation, Population Services International (PSI) agreed.
"Our research shows that there is actually an increase in the percentage of people using more mosquito nets and seeking malaria treatment," a PSI official said.
"We know there is a correlation between usage of mosquito net and water purifiers and the number of deaths," said PSI, an organisation involved in the distribution of mosquito nets and water purifiers among the vulnerable groups.
Malaria is prevalent among pregnant women and children aged under five years.
Despite government efforts to lower the mortality rate, the state-run daily newspaper, Journal de Angola, said 2,000 deaths had so far been recorded this year.
Angola's southwest Huila province is one of the worst hit areas with a death toll of 300 recorded this year alone, Bernabe Lemos, a coordinator of the anti-malaria programme in the province said.
"We still have to teach people not to drink pool water. We still have to tell parents not to let their children swim in there," he said.