The World Bank has pledged an additional USD200 million to step up the fight against malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Zambia. The sum will be used to purchase 25 million bed nets, according to World Bank chief Robert Zoellick. Some 50 million bed nets are urgently needed to help reach the 2010 goal of providing anti-malaria interventions to all populations at risk of the disease. The U.S. government, meanwhile, has unveiled a six-year strategy to combat malaria worldwide. The new plan aims to halve malaria illnesses and deaths in 70 percent of vulnerable populations in sub-Saharan Africa through improved prevention and treatment efforts and stronger national capacities and health systems. It also aims to curb anti-malarial multi-drug resistance in Southeast Asia and South America.