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Study Linking Malaria Resurgence, Reduction In Malaria Control Programs Highlights Need For Sustained Funding

“Progress in eradicating malaria is jeopardized if programs to combat the disease are cut,” a study published in the Malaria Journal on Tuesday concluded, according to a BMJ news article. The study “looked at 75 documented cases of malaria resurgence worldwide since the 1930s” and “found that in 90 percent of the cases, resurgence was linked, in part, to weakening of malaria control programs,” the article states. “The study warns: ‘Today, the threat of resurgence again looms as constrained global funding and competing priorities threaten the sustainability of successes,'” and it “highlights brief increases in the incidence of malaria in some countries, including Rwanda and Zambia, as a matter for concern,” BMJ notes (Gulland, 4/24).

U.N. Calls For Increased Collaboration, Funding To Fight Malaria Ahead Of World Malaria Day On Wednesday

Speaking at a press conference at U.N. Headquarters ahead of World Malaria Day, observed Wednesday, a U.N. envoy on Monday called for “[a]n increase in collaboration and partnerships among donor and recipient countries … to boost efforts to prevent and treat malaria, … while also calling for an increase in funding to combat the deadly disease,” the U.N. News Centre reports. The U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers “said that although malaria deaths have declined significantly in recent years, there is still much to be done to reach the target of zero deaths by 2015, and countries would need to increase their coordination in addressing the issue,” the news service notes (4/23).

Guardian Blog Examines Potential Impact Of Global Fund Reform On Organization’s Future

In this post in her Global Health Blog, Guardian Health Editor Sarah Boseley examines the potential impact of reform within the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on the organization’s future. She writes, “It’s been only seven weeks since banker Gabriel Jaramillo took over as general manager of the [fund], but it is already clear the worthy organization set up by Kofi Annan to channel money to treat and prevent diseases in poor countries is a leaner, meaner machine.” She continues, “Jaramillo, former chair and chief executive of Sovereign Bank, brings a tougher attitude to the organization.”

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Offer Hope Of Malaria Eradication Amid Growing Drug Resistance

“In recent weeks, the emergence on the Thai-Myanmar border of malaria strains resistant to artemisinin, a plant-derived drug, have led to pessimistic headlines and reminders of the setback caused by resistance to the drug chloroquine, which began in the 1950s,” columnist and author Matt Ridley writes in the Wall Street Journal’s “Mind & Matter,” noting, “April 25 is World Malaria Day, designed to draw attention to the planet’s biggest infectious killer.” He continues, “For this reason, prevention generally works better than cure in eradicating infectious diseases: Vaccination beat smallpox, clean water beats cholera, less crowded living beats tuberculosis and protection from mosquitoes beats malaria.”

Discontinuing Antibiotic Used To Prevent Opportunistic Infections Among HIV Patients Could Increase Risk Of Malaria, Diarrhea

“Abruptly discontinuing co-trimoxazole — an antibiotic used to prevent opportunistic infections in HIV-positive people — can lead to a higher incidence of malaria and diarrhea compared with patients who keep on taking the drug,” according to a study conducted by the CDC in eastern Uganda and published by the Oxford Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases in March, PlusNews reports. “The researchers found that 72 percent of the 315 cases of fever reported by study participants occurred among those who had stopped taking co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, and they were also nearly twice more likely to report diarrhea,” the news service notes.

VOA Health Report Examines Health Needs In Burma Amid Recent Political Changes

This VOA Special English Health Report examines health needs in Burma, where “[h]ealth workers are warning about the spread of a form of drug-resistant malaria.” The report discusses recent political changes in the country, stating, “In the past year, Burma has opened its political system and reached cease-fire agreements with some ethnic militias,” but “many aid groups say their jobs have not gotten any easier.” The report states, “Until 2009, just three international non-governmental aid organizations had the required approvals to operate inside Burma,” but “[m]any were able to get a memorandum of understanding that allowed them to work without an official registration.”

PATH Blog Examines Organization’s Work In Malaria Through Affiliate Drug Development Program

This PATH Blog post examines PATH’s work in malaria through OneWorld Health, a non-profit drug development program. Since 2004, “when OneWorld Health formed a partnership to develop an alternative source of the malaria drug artemisinin, … OneWorld Health, which became an affiliate of PATH late last year, [has] quietly forged relationships with public and private partners, creating the Artemisinin Project to take the work from research to commercialization,” the blog writes. “Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the partners worked toward providing an affordable and reliable source of high-quality artemisinin — one not dependent on planting schedules, the weather, or the fluctuating market,” the blog adds (Donnelly, 4/10).

Support For Global Fund Helps Work Of PEPFAR

In this post on the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby provides an update on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, stating, “I am buoyed by the reform that is happening at the Fund under the leadership of new General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo.” He adds, “When PEPFAR and the Fund coordinate, our investments against AIDS are expanded both geographically and programmatically. Simply put, a strong PEPFAR requires a strong Global Fund.” Goosby concludes, “I am proud of the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund, in part because it is a commitment to the work of PEPFAR. We have a unique opportunity in a tight fiscal environment to support the Fund at this critical juncture” (4/9).

Study Shows Artemisinin-Resistant Malaria Parasite Spreading Along Thai-Myanmar Border

A strain of malaria that is resistant to artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is spreading along the Thai-Myanmar border and has the potential to spread to Africa if efforts to effectively treat and prevent the disease are not undertaken, according to a study published in the Lancet on Friday, Reuters reports (Lyn, 4/5). Since 2008, patients treated with ACT have been slower to clear the parasite than previously, “[a]nd this precursor to resistance seems to be spreading, despite efforts to carefully use artemisinin (by giving it in combination with other drugs) to avoid the emergence of resistance,” Scientific American writes.

Analysis Examines Potential Global Health Impact Of Obama Administration’s FY13 Budget Request

A new analysis from amfAR (.doc), The Foundation for AIDS Research, “estimates potential human impacts of funding changes [in global health programs] proposed in the President’s fiscal year 2013 budget request when compared to current operating budget levels (fiscal year 2012).” President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request includes a decrease in funding for PEPFAR and an increase in funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to the analysis, which concludes, “Taken together, proposed changes in funding for the Global Fund and PEPFAR could lead to significant reductions in lifesaving AIDS treatment delivery, services to orphans and other vulnerable children, prevention of vertical HIV transmission (from mother-to-child) services, and HIV testing services that could otherwise have been delivered with flat funding for PEPFAR” (April 2012).

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