Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues…

Trending on kff Ebola Marketplaces Consumer Resources

World Malaria Day Opinion Pieces

The U.K.’s Plan To Eliminate Malaria Deaths

Andrew Mitchell, Britain’s secretary of state for international development, discusses the U.K.’s approach to combating malaria around the world in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”

“[O]ver the next four years we will help to halve malaria deaths in 10 of the worst affected countries in Africa and Asia. We will improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, and we will support the development of innovative ways to tackle the disease,” Mitchell writes. “There have been notable successes, especially in Africa. … These success stories should give us hope. While eliminating malaria completely will always be our ultimate goal, there is no reason why anyone should die from it. Every life lost is needless. With common resolve and a united front we can beat malaria,” he concludes (4/25).

Free Bed Nets Are A Less Expensive Way To Prevent Malaria Deaths 

Malaria deaths are “all the more tragic because there is such a cheap and simple way to fight transmission: insecticide-treated bed nets,” Dean Karlan, professor of economics at Yale University and president and founder of Innovations for Poverty Action, writes in an AlertNet opinion piece, in which he discusses the argument over whether to provide bed nets free-of-charge or at low cost to recipients.  

He highlights research conducted by Jessica Cohen of the Brookings Institute and Harvard School of Public Health and Pascaline Dupas of University of California, Los Angeles, and co-founder of the Kenya-based TAMTAM (Together Against Malaria). In his conclusion, Karlan notes the findings from the research. “Cohen and Dupas crunched the numbers from the providers’ perspective and determined that, on average, it was likely cheaper to save a life by giving the nets away than by selling them,” he writes (4/25).

Still More To Do To Fight Malaria

“As we mark World Malaria Day on April 25, we have much to celebrate. But malaria remains a deadly killer,” Jeffrey Sturchio, president and CEO of the Global Health Council, and David Reddy, CEO of Medicines for Malaria Venture, write in a Huffington Post opinion piece. They highlight the challenges that remain in the global fight against malaria. “In this long war to eradicate malaria we are at a tipping point. Malaria has been eliminated or is close to elimination in several countries. To stop efforts before the last parasite has been defeated is to lose the enormous gains already made,” they warn.

“We need to scale up what is already working and continue to develop new antimalarial tools. Coverage and utilization of existing prevention and diagnostic measures need to be sustained and expanded,” according to the authors, who highlight the findings from a 2010 Roll Back Malaria report (4/23).

Maternal Health Programs Should Integrate Malaria Prevention 

In a Vancouver Sun opinion piece, Mobina S.B. Jaffer, a Canadian senator, writes about her commitment to fighting malaria and calls for malaria programs to be better integrated with maternal health programs. “Maternal health clinics need to have the resources necessary to ensure that their patients are protected from diseases such as malaria. This can be done by distributing insecticide treated mosquito nets, providing rapid diagnostic tests in remote under-serviced areas, ensuring that intermittent presumptive malaria drugs are administered to pregnant women and that antimalarial drugs are readily available and affordable,” she writes. After describing a recent visit to a clinic in Uganda, Jaffer writes: “I strongly believe maternal health and malaria should be addressed simultaneously as the two go hand-in-hand” (4/23).