The annual number of child deaths worldwide has fallen more than 40 percent since 1990, “the result of myriad improvements in nutrition, access to vaccines and antibiotics, cleaner deliveries, better care of infants immediately after birth, and the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets,” according to “the findings of a report released Wednesday by three United Nations agencies and the World Bank,” the Washington Post reports (Brown, 9/12). “In 1990, there were 12 million deaths of young children, but the latest figures … show that deaths had fallen by nearly half, to 6.9 million, by 2011,” the Guardian writes (Boseley, 9/12). “[T]he number of deaths is down by at least 50 percent in eastern, western and southeastern Asia, as well as in northern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean,” the report says, VOA News notes (Schlein, 9/12). However, “[i]n some, mainly sub-Saharan countries, the total number of deaths of children younger than five increased,” BBC News writes, adding, “The Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Somalia, Mali, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso saw annual deaths of children under five rise by 10,000 or more in 2011 as compared with 1990” (Doyle, 9/13).
AllAfrica.com interviews David Brandling-Bennett, deputy director of the malaria program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about the global malaria response. “The last decade has seen a successful global effort to reduce the toll of malaria — a deadly, mosquito-borne infectious disease,” the news service writes. However, Brandling-Bennett “told AllAfrica that the encouraging progress to reduce and eventually eliminate malaria cannot continue without sustained attention and resources,” the news service writes. According to the interview transcript, Brandling-Bennett discusses research and drug development, barriers to treatment, and funding issues (9/7).
PlusNews examines the recently approved grants under the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s Transitional Funding Mechanism (TFM), stating, “Last week, the Fund announced that 45 new grant applications, from countries such as Burundi, Malawi and Swaziland, have been approved under the TFM.” The news service notes, “Almost 25 percent of this combined total will go towards [tuberculosis (TB)], which represents a significant increase from the average 16 percent of funds allocated for TB since the Global Fund was created in 2002, according to a StopTB Partnership statement released in response” to the fund’s announcement. PlusNews notes, “Unlike regular grants, which can run for up to five years, those awarded under the TFM will be limited to two years, by which time the fund is expected to have launched its new funding model” (9/4).
“In mid-July, … the near-final draft of the independent evaluation of the Affordable Medicines Facility — Malaria (AMFm) was released,” Victoria Fan, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and Heather Lanthorn, a doctoral candidate at Harvard School of Public Health, write in this post in the center’s “Global Health Policy” blog. “Never intended to be an experiment or quasi-experiment, the pre-post evaluation of the AMFm has so far been interpreted cautiously and optimistically; we’re encouraged by this,” they write. “But given that the evaluation considers trends in the outcomes of interest before and after AMFm in only the chosen AMFm countries, the evaluation lacks a counterfactual or comparison group,” they continue and detail the findings of the report. They conclude, “Regardless of what is decided for the next phase of AMFm, we strongly recommend that resources be allocated for, at a minimum, tracking outcomes more frequently and also in the non-AMFm countries” (9/4).
The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog profiles Bernard Rivers, founder and executive director of Aidspan, a watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, who is leaving his position after 10 years. “He will not be running Aidspan anymore, but plans to continue to research and write about Global Fund issues,” the blog states. In the blog, Rivers discusses his motivation behind founding Aidspan and his hopes for the future of the Global Fund (Barton, 8/30).
U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley spoke on Monday in Abuja at the inauguration of a Defense Reference Laboratory, Leadership reports, noting he said the laboratory, “which is the first of its kind in the sub-region,” was supported by U.S. funding. According to the newspaper, McCulley said the Reference Laboratory Program is part of U.S. assistance to Nigeria through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Nigeria’s Ministry of Defense (NMOD) through the Walter Reed Program (WRP-N) and the Emergency Plan Implementation Committee (EPIC), which began in 2005 (8/30).
“The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved 45 new two-year grants, from 37 countries, totaling $419.2 million, to fund essential prevention, treatment, and care services provided to the people affected by the three diseases,” according to a Global Fund press release. “Another 11 proposals worth a total of $91.2 million were sent back for revision, and are subject to a further independent technical review before they can be approved,” the press release adds, noting the grant approvals are part of the Transitional Funding Mechanism and “will bridge the financing of essential interventions until the next opportunity to apply for grants” (8/28). According to the U.N. News Centre, the Global Fund “has approved funding of $22.9 billion for more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries, and helped programs provide AIDS treatment for 3.6 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 9.3 million people, and 270 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria” (8/28).
“According to analysis led by Kanika Bahl and Pooja Shaw of Results for Development’s (R4D’s) Market Dynamics team, improved global incentives and information on cost-effectiveness could save the fight against malaria up to $630 million over the next five years and encourage manufacturers to produce better-performing nets,” Bahl, a managing director for R4D, and Shaw, a program officer in the Market Dynamics Practice at R4D, write in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. “Using their central position in global [long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN)] markets, donor institutions can introduce policy incentives to focus on cost-effectiveness and rationalize specifications so that suppliers can take advantage of economies of scale in production,” they continue, adding, “To implement these policies, global guidance on the performance of various nets is urgently needed, and this is where organizations such as the WHO can provide direction” (8/27).
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Nigerian government on Friday “signed two grant agreements … worth a total of $225 million to support programs that will prevent and treat malaria,” a Global Fund press release reports. According to the press release, the agreements “include an additional $50 million for bed nets, approved in an unusual move by the Global Fund Board that was linked to additional commitments by the government of Nigeria” (8/24). Global Fund Deputy Executive Director Debrework Zewdie “told top government functionaries that the [money] is meant to assure the international community that Nigeria is a worthy partner in the fight to eradicate malaria,” ThisDay writes, adding, “During a transformation of the fund’s grant management structure this year, Nigeria was identified as one of the 20 ‘high impact’ countries that are now receiving special attention” (8/26). Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, CEO of Access Bank and chair of the Friends of the Global Fund Africa, “described the grant as [an] opportunity for Nigeria to show leadership and commitment in the fight against malaria by committing more resources to save lives,” the Daily Trust notes (Atonko, 8/26).
“Each year on August 20, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) celebrates [World] Mosquito Day to honor the date in 1897 when British doctor Ronald Ross discovered that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between human beings,” AlertNet reports (Mollins, 8/17). “In 1902, Ross’s discovery earned him the Nobel prize for medicine and laid the foundations for scientists across the world to better understand, beat and treat malaria-carrying mosquitoes,” Sarah Kline, executive director of Malaria No More U.K., writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog.