Africa Fighting Malaria: On the Front Lines of Advocacy for Malaria Control and Public Health Insecticides

Donald Roberts | 01 Aug 2009
Wing Beats
Malaria sickens over 500 million people and claims over 1 million lives every year. The vast majority of victims are African children. Malaria has no natural constituency in developed countries, having long been eradicated. But recent high level marketing and advocacy through TV shows such as American Idol have catalyzed a growing movement of public health institutions, businesses and charities to stop mlaria in its tracks. While welcome, this attention is unfortunately one-sided, focusing almost exclusively on mass distribution of mosquito nets to passively prevent transmission. If malaria is really to be pushed back, more sophisticated, thoughtful, and perhaps aggressive advocacy is required to focus on vector control in conjunction with other disease management approaches. The purpose of this article is to highlight pressing issues in the global effort to control malaria and to bring to the attention of the Wing Beats readership the work of a small but dedicated advocacy group, Africa Fighting Malaria.

Africa Fighting Malaria, on whose Board I serve, is singular in its dedication to helping endemic countries make use of the full spectrum of tools in the malaria control arsenal. AFM is the only group I know of that operates without industry or government funding and conducts independent, evidence-based advocacy for truly comprehensive malaria control solutions. Here I will describe the diverse and complex issues of their work.

Full article available at http://www.fightingmalaria.org/pdfs/afm_wingbeatssummer2009.pdf