the mosquito-borne disease that has killed close to a million people annually
in Africa -- mainly children and
pregnant women -- is being fought through international partnerships that
emphasize African ownership in prevention and treatment strategies.
than 90 percent of malaria victims live in Africa, where the disease has
resulted in an estimated loss of $12 billion a year from the continent's gross
can now celebrate the success" of programs in 15 targeted African
countries whose goal is to reduce malaria cases by 50 percent, Admiral Timothy
Ziemer, coordinator of the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), told a May 3
seminar at George Washington University.
discussion, "Defeating Malaria in Africa: Building on Success
through Partnership," was co-sponsored by the university's Elliott School
of International Affairs and the David H. Miller Foundation.
was appointed to head the PMI in June 2006. The health effort, launched by
President Bush in June 2005, is a historic $1.2 billion, five-year initiative
headed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in conjunction
with several other health-related U.S. agencies, including the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
room to be optimistic" that malaria cases in Africa can be steadily
reduced through a combination of treatments with advanced drugs like
artemisinin and countermeasures like mosquito netting and indoor residual
spraying of insecticides, Ziemer told the panel.
million people so far have been treated for malaria or have benefited from
prevention outreach since PMI was established two years ago, and an additional
11 million will be reached in 2007, according to a PMI fact sheet.
willingness to be real partners in malaria eradication also has been
encouraging, Ziemer added. This partnership is "consistent with the U.S. foreign assistance
strategy that looks for cooperative governments" that have a sustainable
plan to address the health needs of their people, he said. "That's good
community development and a good way of doing foreign assistance," he
result has been the provision of significant funding from the United States, Ziemer pointed out. For
example, in 1997 USAID's malaria programs in Africa totaled $1 million. But
for 2008 the USAID allocation is more than $300 million, he said. "So PMI
is a component of this government's commitment to community development and
public health improvement in Africa," Ziemer said.
that PMI considers itself "one of the partners in a field of many"
battling the disease, Ziemer said Bush "also challenged the private sector
to step up to the plate. And the good news is that there are many corporate,
public-private organizations that are participating in this malaria
corporations like the Coca-Cola Company could be especially useful in helping
distribute bed nets as a preventative measure against the mosquitos that spread
malaria, said Jerry Chambers, an international management affairs consultant
and pharmaceutical engineer with longtime experience battling parasitic
diseases in Africa.
have businesses all over the world," Chambers explained. Anti-malaria programs
could "piggyback" on their vast distribution networks, which reach
into the countryside.
Mark Grabowsky, an officer with the U.S. Public Health Service currently on
detail as malaria coordinator for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis
and Malaria, told the panel that global malaria programs now are focusing on
increased consultations with host nations.
used to be that we people in international health would sit in places like Washington" and dictate
anti-malaria strategies to host countries," Grabowsky said. But now, he
said, the emphasis is on "partnerships that harness U.S. resources to help
African countries meet their national [health] goals.
this is a challenging way to fight disease, Grabowsky said, the advantage is
that "it guarantees country ownership of these activities," which in
the long run will make anti-malaria efforts more sustainable.