Quality First

Roger Bate | 15 Nov 2007 |

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson will today visit the A to Z Textile Mills factory in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. This will invariably be seen as an endorsement of Africa's only anti-malaria bednet producer, which may seem like a good idea: A to Z is a well-managed firm, and it is already increasing the supply of bednets in East Africa. But in a wider context, offering such overt U.S. support to the idea of aid-driven local production is not sensible policy. As I have documented, arbitrary bureaucratic interventions and corrupt practices cost thousands of lives every year across Africa. Pharmaceuticals often sit on quaysides and spoil in the heat, while clinics suffer shortages that directly affect the health of their patients. Local production may avert the perils of customs officers seeking backhanders; but a more direct approach would be to stamp out the corruption that is hampering distribution. This would expedite distribution, improve the reliability of supply, and reduce costs immediately.

Drive to increase DDT use in malaria war has stalled

Roger Bate | 10 Nov 2007 | The Standard (Kenya)

It is one drug that has raised hue and cry just as much as it has saved lives. DDT, which is the short form of Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane has been used continually in public health programmes over the past 60 years. It has saved millions of lives from diseases such as malaria, typhus and yellow fever. Despite a public backlash in the 1960s, mainstream scientific and public health communities continued to recognise its utility and safety.

A long, hard road to the end of malaria in Africa

Jasson Urbach | 06 Nov 2007 | Business Day (South Africa)

There has been much written and said in the media recently about the successful development of a malaria vaccine and, considering the human misery and economic costs the disease continues to cause, the developments should be welcomed. The vaccine showing the most promise (known by its laboratory name of RTS,S) was first formulated more than 20 years ago and has been used in trials since 1992, but due to the tricky nature of the parasite, which is constantly evolving, outwitting modern medicine and the human immune system, the development of a successful vaccine has been a slow process of trial and error.

Last Chance for DDT

Roger Bate | 05 Nov 2007 | Wall Street Journal

Thanks to the pragmatism of African health officials and the efforts of some in the U.S. government, the insecticide DDT is still repelling and killing mosquitoes in Africa nations, saving thousands of people from malaria and other infectious diseases each year. But its days may be numbered. While the Bush administration and the World Health Organization have argued articulately in favor of DDT over the past two years, so-called environmentalists and those companies selling alternatives to DDT are pushing to prevent it from being deployed.

The Case for DDT

Roger Bate | 05 Nov 2007 |

Malaria is as old as mankind and still going strong, infecting hundreds of millions (and killing between one and three million) each year. A cure was known in 17th-century Europe. But because it was brought to the continent by Catholic missionaries (who actually learned of it from South American natives), many malaria sufferers, included Oliver Cromwell, thought the medicine was part of a "Popish plot" and refused to take it. Cromwell died of the disease in 1658. It took his death, and the subsequent curing of King Charles II, to shift public opinion in favor of "quinine," as the anti-malaria agent is now called.

Mind Over Malaria

Roger Bate | 17 Oct 2007 |

As the Gates Foundation meets this week, it should take a closer look at the 'global subsidy' campaign. The idea of a subsidy is worth discussing. But it would be terribly expensive—and, as currently envisaged, it could easily become counterproductive. The subsidy funds would probably be better spent on other priorities. Malaria is far cheaper to prevent in the first place than it is to treat.

AFM Response to "WHO Promotes DDT?"

Richard Tren | 14 Oct 2007 | The Lancet

Hans Overgaard and Michael Angstreich argue in The Lancet Infectious Diseases (subscription required) that the World Health Organization (WHO) has consistently provided support for the use of DDT for malaria control. AFM responds to their miseading an dishonest arguments about DDT and WHO as well as to their characterization of AFM as an organization that promotes DDT as a "panacea for the world's malaria problems" here.

New Malaria Drugs to Be Approved, But Do They Work and Are They Safe?

Roger Bate | 05 Sep 2007 | TCS Daily

The market for treatments of malaria - which kills over one million people a year -- is of almost no commercial value: Although patients seek over 300 million treatments a year, and perhaps as many suffer without treatment, few legitimate drug companies make any money from the business. It is for this reason that one would typically be excited that new drugs to treat the disease, produced by Chinese firm Guilin Pharmaceutical, and Indian firm Ipca Laboratories have been approved by the World Health Organization. But recent history suggests that caution is very much in order.

DDT use should not be politicised

Carlos Odora | 02 Sep 2007 | New Vision

On August 14, The New Vision reported that the people spraying houses in Munyonyo to control malaria were "resisted". This incident highlights the need for good information, education and communication in malaria control and also provides evidence of the damage that the highly politicised and damaging debate around the use of DDT has done for malaria control. 

Indoor Residual Spraying - Do it right

| 24 Aug 2007 | Africa Fighting Malaria

On August 14, 2007 Uganda's New Vision newspaper reported that malaria control spraymen were "resisted" in Munyonyo, a suburb of Kampala, as they attempted to conduct an indoor residual spraying program. This incident highlights the need for good information, education and communication in malaria control and also provides evidence of the damage that the highly politicized and damaging debate around the use of DDT has done for malaria control.