News / Health

Malaria Programs at Risk From Funding Cuts

Henry Ridgwell
Funding for programs to control malaria and provide universal treatment for the mosquito-borne disease is falling short of international goals, according to the World Health Organization. In its annual report, the WHO also warns that the latest drugs could soon become ineffective against some deadly malarial parasites.  

Ami Diabate, has brought her three children to a rural clinic to get the latest anti-malarial drugs.

The aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières - or Doctors Without Borders - is rolling out the pilot program across Mali. Results are encouraging - a 65-percent drop in infections a week after distribution.

Deadly disease

Diabate said she has noticed an immediate difference.

"My children used to have fevers regularly, she said, but since they started taking this medicine, they haven't run a temperature."

Malaria kills an estimated 660,000 people every year. Over the past decade, advances in prevention and treatment have cut the death rate by 30 percent.

The World Health Organization warns, however, that funding increases over the past two years have slowed significantly - putting such progress at risk.

Simon Wright is head of child survival at the aid agency, Save the Children.

“The financial crisis means that a lot of governments - not all by any means - but a lot of governments are tailing off in their aid budgets. And so where we were seeing growth we’re not seeing growth any more. But also there’s a factor of maybe donors changing their interests,” said Wright.

Short on supplies

In 2011, international donors made $2.3 billion available to fight malaria - less than half the $5.1 billion that the WHO says is needed annually.

The money goes toward some simple tools, said Professor Sir Brian Greenwood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“One of those is the humble bed-net, which people have been using for hundreds of years. But the relatively new advance has been in treating the nets with insecticide. Now, the insecticide is actually incorporated into the material,” he said.

The number of insecticide-impregnated nets delivered to sub-Saharan Africa fell from 145 million in 2010 to 66 million in 2012. Indoor spraying programs also have leveled off.

Increased resistance

Greenwood said the greatest concern is the growing resistance of the malarial parasite to the latest medicines known as artemisinins.

“We do have now quite clear evidence that there is resistance to the artemisinins, particularly in Cambodia, but probably in the neighboring countries. Fortunately not yet in Africa, but it would be a disaster if those parasites got loose in Africa, and our main treatment was failing again, like it did with chloroquin,” he said.

Until an effective malaria vaccine is developed and made available globally, researchers say it is vital that donors continue to fund prevention and treatment programs that have made such progress until now.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More