News / Health

Advocates Say Removal of Taxes,Tariffs Can Reduce Malaria Deaths

Kenya Medical Research Institute doctors research malaria at the clinical research facility laboratory in the Kenya coastal town of Kilifi, November 23, 2010
Kenya Medical Research Institute doctors research malaria at the clinical research facility laboratory in the Kenya coastal town of Kilifi, November 23, 2010
Lisa Schlein

Malaria prevention advocates say many lives can be saved by removing taxes and tariffs from essential commodities used to fight the disease.  Health ministers and representatives from the African Union, attending a meeting sponsored by the World Health Organization, have pledged to make these products more affordable by pushing for the elimination of trade barriers in all malaria-endemic countries.      

A decade ago, 40 African heads of state agreed to roll back import barriers on medicines and other commodities used to prevent and treat malaria.  Ten years later, only a handful of nations have lived up to their commitment to reduce or waive taxes and tariffs on these essential products.  

So far, only five African nations - Guinea, Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania and Uganda - and the Asian nation of Papua New Guinea have removed all tariffs on commodities that are effective in malaria control.  

Director of the Malaria Taxes and Tariffs Advocacy Project, Halima Mwenesi, says removal of these trade barriers can play a critical role in reducing costs because the vast majority of commodities used to fight malaria are imported from overseas.

“They are imported from the manufacturing countries, which are either in Europe or Asia.  By the time they get into the countries and you have markups from the private sector or then you have all the distribution costs, etc," Mwenesi said. "Then add on to that the tariffs and taxes, it becomes very difficult for people who are not necessarily making a lot of money to access these commodities.”

The commodities include insecticide-treated mosquito nets, artemisinin-based combination therapies, rapid diagnostic tests, insecticides for indoor residual spraying, and spray pumps.

The World Health Organization estimates 800,000 people died from malaria last year.  Most of them were children and pregnant women in Africa.

The Assistant Minister for Public Health and Sanitation in Kenya, James Gesami, says malaria is the number one cause of death and hospitalization in his country.  He says since Kenya removed all taxes and tariffs on malaria products, there has been a dramatic drop in the rate of fatality and disease.

“In fact, between 2002 and 2009, we have been able to reduce infant mortality by 44 percent," he said.  "That is quite a significant kind of percentage.  In the Lake region, where the great lakes, like Lake Victoria, where malaria is endemic, we have been able to reduce the percentage of infant deaths from malaria from 40 percent to 20 percent.  That is quite significant.”

Malaria prevention and treatment advocates attending the WHO meeting say a major obstacle in getting nations to eliminate taxes and tariffs on malaria commodities is their fear of losing revenue.  They say it is critical to convince them that these revenues are offset by health costs and lost productivity caused by preventable malaria illnesses.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs