“A malaria drug made by India’s Cipla has been pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO), an important step towards its roll-out across Asia, where millions of people are infected with the mosquito-borne disease every year,” Reuters reports. “The drug, which has already been used to treat 18,000 adults in India, is intended as the first-line treatment in a number of South East Asian countries, Cipla and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative said in a joint statement on Wednesday,” the news service writes (10/3). “The pre-qualified status means the drug meets WHO standards of quality, safety and efficacy, making it eligible for bulk procurement under programs that receive funding from international agencies like the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” Fox Business notes (Ahmed, 10/3). The pill is the first to offer a combination of drugs in one tablet, and it requires a single daily dose of one or two tablets over three days, according to a video report from Al Jazeera (10/3).
“Although no official decision has been announced about whether to continue the … Affordable Medicines Facility-Malaria (AMFm), many of those familiar with it have told Nature that it must change or be phased out after this year,” the magazine reports in an article examining the future of the pilot program that distributes malaria drugs in seven African countries. “The AMFm aims to make artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) readily available and affordable in malaria-ridden countries by relying on the free market for their distribution,” but “it is unclear how many of the drugs reached the pilot program’s target populations,” Nature writes. The magazine describes possible options for the program, and notes the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will recommend a future path for the program at its meeting next month (Maxmen, 10/2).
Leading up to the debates this month and the November presidential election, “President Obama would be wise to talk up our effective aid programs and the soft power they provide with regional allies,” particularly the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), Roger Bate, a resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, and Kimberly Hess, a researcher with Africa Fighting Malaria, write in a New York Daily News opinion piece. “Pointing to the enormous success of this program — and announcing a budget increase — would score valuable points with swing voters and potentially even help Democrats pull some of them off the fence,” they write. Seven years after former President George W. Bush launched PMI, the program “stands among the most effective government programs in recent history — and a rare, genuinely bipartisan foreign policy achievement,” the authors state, noting “under-five mortality rates have declined by 16-50 percent in 11 PMI target countries in which surveys have been conducted.”
IRIN reports on allegations that a grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to Uganda was misused. “Evidence of the mismanagement of a $51 million malaria grant to Uganda from the Global Fund resulted in the July arrest of three Ministry of Health employees and prompted a police investigation into the matter,” the news service writes, adding, “In September, the organization called for the refund of any ineligible expenses under the grant and the strengthening of safeguards to prevent future misappropriation of funds.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reflects on changes in U.S. global health diplomacy since taking office in this Global Health and Diplomacy opinion piece. “America had been leading the global health fight for decades,” but “we recognized that to sustain the impact of our work, we needed to change the way we did business,” she writes. “For example, while our agencies were providing tremendous leadership in isolation, they could still do more to collaborate effectively,” she writes, adding, “[W]e weren’t doing enough to coordinate our efforts with other donors or our partner countries,” and “we weren’t building sustainable systems to eventually allow our partner countries to manage more of their own health needs.” She says, “We were unintentionally putting a ceiling on the number of lives we could save.”
“The World Health Organization said Thursday that governments in the Mekong region must act ‘urgently’ to stop the spread of drug-resistant malaria which has emerged in parts of Vietnam and Myanmar,” Agence France-Presse reports. “There is growing evidence that the malaria parasite is becoming resistant to a frontline treatment, the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, in southern and central Vietnam and in southeastern Myanmar, the WHO said in a statement,” AFP writes, noting, “WHO regional director, Shin Young-soo, said countries must ‘urgently address this issue before we put at risk not only the fragile gains we have made in malaria control but also our goal of a malaria-free Western Pacific Region.'” The news service adds, “Countries in the Mekong region must “intensify and expand” operations to contain and eliminate artemisinin-resistant malaria, Shin said at a WHO regional meeting in Hanoi” (9/28).
Forbes features an interview with Deborah Derrick, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in which she “discusse[s] her motivations for pursuing a career in international affairs and social change, her experience as a senior program officer at the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation], what lessons she learned during her time at Gates that are most applicable in her new executive role at Friends of the Global Fight, the current landscape of challenges and solutions, and the role of technology in accelerating progress.” In the interview, Derrick said, “The mobilization to defeat these diseases in the past decade has been stunningly successful. … But there is so much more that needs to be done. If we don’t muster the resources to keep up the fight, and all commit to doing our part in a time of constrained resources, we risk backsliding on the progress we’ve already invested in” (Kanani, 9/21).
“This week, heads of state, celebrities and CEOs will attend U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ dinner in New York,” an event that “will highlight the amazing contribution of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to the health of women and children in developing countries,” Lucy Chesire, executive director and secretary to the board of TB ACTION Group, writes in the Huffington Post’s “The Big Push” blog. “Ten years ago, tackling HIV, tuberculosis [TB] and malaria seemed an almost impossible task. Today we can see the beginning of the end of these three killer diseases,” she continues, adding, “But to make these historic achievements possible we need sufficient resources available!”
“[W]hat will the day be like when we finally defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria?” Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, asks in the Huffington Post’s “The Big Push” blog. “[W]ith the launch today of The Big Push campaign — co-sponsored by the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] and the Huffington Post — this might be more than a thought exercise … because the progress that’s been made against these diseases in only the last 10 years has been so staggering that we may actually be in sight of the day when no child is born with HIV, nobody dies of malaria and we stop the spread of tuberculosis,” she continues and provides some statistics.
Preliminary Results Of MSF Malaria Prevention Program Suggest Malaria Drugs Prevent Disease In Healthy Children
A large-scale malaria prevention program through which medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) gave intermittent doses of anti-malaria drugs to 175,000 children in Mali and Chad suggests that “widely distributing anti-malaria drugs to healthy children in African countries can significantly reduce the number of new cases of the disease,” VOA News reports. “The [program] was launched in July and will continue through next month, a period of high transmission for malaria,” the news service notes (9/24). “Preliminary results from the program, known as seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), show that the number of cases of simple malaria dropped by 65 percent in the intervention area in Mali, and by up to 86 percent in Chad,” according to an MSF press release, which adds, “A significant decrease in cases of severe malaria has also been recorded.”