Malaria advances still not reaching patients, warns charity

Sally Hargreaves | 22 Oct 2008
The Lancet
A new report from the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says that measures to ensure new diagnostics and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) actually reach patients are now crucial. Merely shipping drug treatment to resource-poor countries is not enough, say the authors, citing weak distribution and health systems and a lack of qualified staff as just some of the problems. The report was published in the wake of the high-level UN Millennium Development Goal meeting in New York, USA, in September, during which the international community pledged £1·6 billion to implement the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership's new Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP), with the aim of eradicating malaria globally by 2015.

"A decline in malaria has certainly taken place where governments have developed comprehensive malaria control programmes with donors, often by removing cost recovery programmes", Prudence Hamade (MSF, London, UK) told TLID. "However, fragile states and states in conflict, which involves quite a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, have shown no progress at all in recent years despite donations...to even think about eliminating malaria globally the needs of these particular populations will have to be considered", she added.

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