The War on Mosquitoes: Africa Still Losing after Billions Committed.

Friday, September 26, 2008 

This week, Global leaders and philanthropists such as Bill Gates and rock star Bono pledged a colossal amount of US$3 bn to help African countries fight malaria and reduce poverty in order to attain the Millennium Development Goal.

However, as  economists Jasson Urbach of Africa Fighting Malaria and Julian Harris of the International Policy Network  remind us,  "Donors already spend over US$600 million a year in Africa to fight the disease, with the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) alone set to devote another US$1.2 billion over the next five years.  Yet, while some progress is being made, malaria is still the leading cause of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, where a child dies from the disease every 30 seconds."

The economists, essentially argue in a soon-to-be- published article that, all the high profile donors have done is simply "re-branded the failed Roll Back Malaria scheme and promised US$3 billion." And they wonder if Africans can’t "cure themselves of malaria if they are allowed to prosper, to enjoy economic growth and to develop healthier living conditions."

It is significant to point out that the World Bank pledged US$1.1bn and the other fund was from the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The British government and the Bill Gates Foundation are the remaining contributors. The fund is to be used to speed up implementation of the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) which might reduce the number of malaria related deaths in the sub region within the next three years assuming bureaucracy and corruption didn’t gobble up the fund.