Malaria: no time to pass the buck

Richard Tren | 22 Nov 2006 | Business Day (South Africa)

This week, Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are marking Malaria Week by holding a ministerial conference in Namibia. The theme of the conference is Scaling up Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) with DDT.

Lady Madonna, Children at Your Feet

Richard Tren | 26 Oct 2006 | TCS Daily

Yohane Banda, the father of Madonna's newly adopted son, David, has thanked the pop diva for rescuing his son from "poverty and disease." However recent news reports have suggested that Mr. Banda was not fully aware of the implications of the adoption and that he would prefer to have his son nearby where he can see him and be able to take him back when his circumstances improve. The whole affair raises many questions about the role that westerners should play in helping Africa to develop. It also raises questions about the role of high profile celebrities that have taken on African causes - the current track record of celebrity Africa-philes leaves much room for improvement.

Myths About the Developing World

Hans Rosling | 23 Sep 2006 | TED

Myths About the Developing World, By Hans Rosling at TED.

Drug Snares

Roger Bate & Kathryn Boateng | 09 Sep 2006 | National Review Online

Throughout the developing world, hospitals have become places where patients don't bother to go; it's not that they aren't sick — there just are no drugs for the doctors to prescribe for them. Two thirds of the world's population and 80 percent of Africans do not have adequate access to drugs. While manufacturers' pricing and grotesque poverty-levels are partly to blame, a major culprit is the governments of these poor countries, which impose tariffs, taxes, and customs duties on imported drugs.

Make Federal Spending Transparent

Roger Bate | 09 Sep 2006 | Washington Post

What do Friends of the Earth, the Family Research Council, Phyllis Schlafly and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force have in common? If you think not much, then you are partially wrong: They all love the new Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. Introduced by senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the bill requires the Office of Management and Budget to establish and maintain a single public website listing the names and locations of all individuals and groups receiving federal funds, including the amount of federal funds received annually by program.

Bill Gates must set priorities

Roger Bate | 03 Aug 2006 | Australian

With Warren Buffett's largesse added to his own, Bill Gates has about $60 billion to spend on health and development. How should he spend it? The Copenhagen Consensus, a group and process put together by Danish academic and world renowned sceptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg, answered this question last year. Experts on the best life-saving interventions in various fields reached a consensus on what provided the best bang for the buck if they were spending $50 billion. Their conclusions could be of use to Gates. Top of the list of value for money aid investments was combating HIV-AIDS. Improving nutrition, opening up trade, preventing malaria and improving clean water delivery were some of the next best interventions.

Taxed to Death

Roger Bate | 06 Jul 2006 | Foreign Policy

In recent years, the amount of aid for developing countries has increased, and the price of many drugs has fallen. So why does one third of the world's population still lack access to proper healthcare? To a large degree, the fault lies with the poor countries themselves. Many charge high tariffs on life-saving medicines and equipment, sometimes even taxing products that are donated for free. Foreign drug manufacturers must often jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops to get their products to those who need them most.

Arata Kochi: shaking up the malaria world

Sarah Boseley | 17 Jun 2006 | The Lancet

Dr. Arata Kochi, new head of the WHO's malaria control work, is making many positive changes to help the fight against malaria.

Sick at the World Bank

Amir Attaran & Roger Bate | 19 May 2006 | Examiner

The World Bank is failing miserably on malaria, like it failed on HIV/AIDS before. Although it has a $20 billion budget that, deployed intelligently, could lower sickness and accelerate economic growth, the World Bank is instead making a mess of its reputation and costing patients their lives through its unwise medical judgments. Along with 11 academic colleagues, we overcame stringent peer-review at the world's top medical journal, The Lancet, to publish what we describe here.

The World Bank and Disease Control: a Bad Combination

Roger Bate | 03 May 2006 | World Bank

For the lack of decent sanitation and health care thousands of the poorest children die unnecessarily every day. While their governments have primary responsibility for them, the international agencies, notably the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank, are not as effective at improving survival rates as they should be because they do not stick to their respective missions nor fulfill them. The WHO has disease expertise but poor management and has weakened its disease-control programs by becoming involved in health-care delivery. The Bank, with expertise in health systems development and health financing, has become involved in disease control where it has little institutional knowledge. The result of this bilateral mission creep is overlapping authority, lack of focus and accountability.