“If we needed more evidence that the funding cuts at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria were going to be detrimental to people’s lives, a new study … makes it clear: Providing funding to fight malaria makes malaria go away,” Kolleen Bouchane, director of ACTION, a global partnership of health advocacy organizations, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “The authors write that as substantial new financial resources have become available to fight malaria since 2000, malaria has decreased considerably in many parts of the world,” she continues, adding, “But in the past, malaria has returned when malaria control programs have been weakened — and they’ve usually been weakened when resources dried up.”
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) on Friday released a summary of a joint workshop by the Institute of Medicine, the Indian National Science Academy, and the Indian Council of Medical Research, titled, “Facing the Reality of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Challenges and Potential Solutions in India.” According to the report’s webpage, “The aim of the workshop was to highlight key challenges to controlling the spread of drug-resistant strains of [tuberculosis (TB)] in India and to discuss strategies for advancing and integrating local and international efforts to prevent and treat drug-resistant TB” (4/27).
A strain of malaria that is resistant to artemether, the main ingredient in Coartem, a widely used drug to treat the disease, may be spreading in Africa, according to a study published Thursday in Malaria Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. “Studies in Cambodia and Thailand have shown that drugs based on artemisinin, the class of remedies to which artemether belongs, are becoming less effective there,” the news service writes, adding that study author Sanjeev Krishna of the University of London said, “Drug resistance could eventually become a devastating problem in Africa, and not just in southeast Asia where most of the world is watching for resistance.” According to the authors, “[t]he effectiveness of other artemisinin-based drugs, such as artesunate, wasn’t significantly affected by the mutations,” the news service states (Bennett, 4/26).
“To commemorate World Malaria Day, top malaria researchers came together Wednesday to present their work at a research and development event on Capitol Hill, hosted by Malaria No More,” the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports. “Representatives from 20 academic and research organizations discussed the contributions American private companies, universities, and research institutions are making to the fight against malaria through” research and development, the blog writes, noting, “Researchers at the briefing celebrated achievements made so far but warned that malaria remains a huge public health hazard” (Aziz, 4/26).
The Guardian, in association with Malaria Consortium, hosted a roundtable discussion on World Malaria Day, during which participants heard about progress in the fight against the disease in certain countries and discussed how “the burden of malaria is still high and spending on the disease is inadequate,” the Guardian reports. “The discussion was held under the Chatham House rule, which allows comments to be reported anonymously to encourage frank and free debate,” and included 14 participants with representatives from the U.K. government, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the School of Oriental and African Studies, the Zambia High Commission, GlaxoSmithKline, Accenture Development Partnerships, Oxfam, the Overseas Development Institute, Re-Define, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Guardian, and Malaria Consortium. A summary of the discussion is available online (Robson, 4/25).
Nature Outlook examines the fight against malaria in Uganda. “Uganda’s tragic failure to abate malaria has numerous political, geographic, economic and social factors — and illustrates the reality that it takes more than scientific breakthroughs and cheap drugs to solve this persistent menace,” according to the article. Nature describes how a primarily rural population, “[f]unding bottlenecks, inefficient procurement processes, transportation problems,” drug stock-outs, and a lack of health care workers affects access to care and treatment for malaria, as well as how aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and other donors is supporting programs to build sustainable solutions to fighting the disease (Newmen, 4/25).
Wednesday, April 25, marked World Malaria Day, which this year had the theme “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria.” The following blogs address the fight against malaria.
“A new report from the Results for Development Institute,” released to coincide with World Malaria Day on Wednesday, “suggests there are ways to save and reinvest badly needed funds, by getting better value for money out of the bednets distributed in endemic areas,” Guardian Health Editor Sarah Boseley reports in her “Global Health Blog.” “Over the next five years, say author Kanika Bahl and colleagues, smarter purchasing strategies could save … $630 million,” the blog writes, adding, “It could be used to buy 150 million more bednets, protecting 300 million people from the mosquitoes that spread the disease.”
Ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday said the number of malaria cases it has treated in the country “more than tripled to 155,000 last year from two years previous,” Reuters reports (Hogg/Felix, 4/24). “In 2009, MSF’s teams treated more than 45,000 people with malaria” in DRC, with the total increasing to more than 158,000 in 2011, the Guardian notes, adding, “So far this year, more than 85,000 people have been treated.” According to the newspaper, “The agency said the rise was particularly alarming because of a high number of severe malaria patients requiring hospital care and urgent blood transfusions due to anemia. It has deployed additional emergency medical teams in four provinces but is unable to respond in all affected areas.”
Wednesday, April 25, marks World Malaria Day, which this year has the theme “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria.” The following opinion pieces address the fight against malaria.