Articles for December 2006
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Vaccine 'could eliminate malaria'  -
Scientists claim that they have developed a vaccine that could eliminate malaria from entire regions of the world.

Ghana: President Bush Announces Ghana as New Focus Country for President's Malaria Initiative  - Naa Norley, Ghanaian Chronicle
The US President George Bush, has disclosed that in recognition of malaria being one of the major causes of poverty in Africa, including Ghana, where it also accounts for over 44% of out-patient visits and an estimated 22% of mortality for children under age 5 it is taking a special initiative to help address the problem. General statistics show that in 2005 more than 3 million suspected cases of malaria were seen in government health facilities and over 110,000 patients were admitted to stay in hospitals due to malaria.

Malaria Vaccine Announced  - Agence France Presse
A vaccine for Plasmodium falciparum, the mosquito-borne micro-organism that causes malaria, was announced today in the U.S.

Nonprofit "Malaria No More" Network Tackling the Deadly Disease  - By Kathryn McConnell, USAID Staff writer
Malaria No More, a nonprofit network of more than 60 organizations from the United States and other countries launched December 14 as part of the White House Summit on Malaria, will support a comprehensive approach to control the spread of one of the world's most deadly diseases.

Rwanda: New Anti-Malaria Spray to Be Launched  - George Kagame, The New Times
The Ministry of Health and USAID will mid next year launch a new insecticide known as ICON to help fight malaria in the country.

Nature Medicine Yearbook 2006  - Nature Medicine
Who says science is a sober discipline? This year’s events were the stuff of high drama: tall claims, outlandish ideas and outright lies—and from well-regarded teams—all made the news. But there was also much to applaud, including the debut of much-needed vaccines, the return of the pesticide DDT to fight malaria and an infusion of cash into strapped areas of research. In the following pages, we revisit the year’s best, brightest and most ridiculous moments, and take a shot at predicting what next year will bring.

Bush Renews Effort to Cut Malaria Deaths  - David Brown, Washington Post
Bush gathered a group of global health luminaries last week to give a second debut to one of his least-known foreign ventures, the $1.2 billion, five-year President's Malaria Initiative.

'Grey's Anatomy' Doctor Is In -- Battling Malaria  - ABC News
"Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington was with the White House this week to champion President Bush's billion-dollar push to beat malaria once and for all. Washington said that in fighting the illness that still kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds, "our hope is that by working together we can make malaria no more and give African children the gift of growing up."

No more aid cash unless you prove it's worthwhile  - Nina Brenjo
Aid agencies rarely have to prove whether their work is having any effect, but author Michela Wrong praised this week's White House summit on malaria for taking the unusual stance that cash should only go to organisations which can show they're spending it in ways that are cutting malaria cases.

The AIDS-Malaria Connection  - New York Times
AIDS prevention has seen two breakthroughs this month. The big news is the protective value of circumcision. But there is another important finding: AIDS and malaria feed on each other, with disastrous effects.

A Question of Will  - Washington Post
LAST WEEK President Bush hosted a White House summit on malaria. "We know exactly what it takes to treat and prevent the disease," Mr. Bush said, referring to insecticide-treated bed nets and other simple measures. "The only question is whether we have the will to act."

Bush Fights Malaria  -
President George W Bush has announced Ghana as one of the 15 countries to participate in his 1.2 billion-dollar malaria initiative.

Stopping malaria before the bite  - BBC News
Researchers are developing a malaria vaccine which blocks development of the disease-causing parasite while it is still inside the mosquito.

Bush says ending malaria 'possible'  - Tom Carter
Malaria, a disease that kills two African children every minute, can be eliminated if governments, private business and religious organizations have the will to make it happen, President Bush said yesterday.

No more aid cash unless you prove it's worthwhile  - Nina Brenjo
Aid agencies rarely have to prove whether their work is having any effect, but author Michela Wrong praised this week's White House summit on malaria for taking the unusual stance that cash should only go to organisations which can show they're spending it in ways that are cutting malaria cases.

Fighting Malaria  - Gallup
According to a recent Gallup poll, 52% of Sub-Saharan Africans see malaria as more prevalent and a bigger problem than HIV/AIDS.

Africa: Taking the Fight Against Malaria to Americans  - Gatonye Gathura, The Nation (Kenya)
Americans rank malaria among the least serious diseases worldwide. This comes as no surprise because the disease was wiped out of the US 50 years ago. Soon, however, this view - revealed by a Gallup poll conducted last weekend - is going to change, following an initiative launched by President George Bush at a White House summit on malaria yesterday.

Make Malaria Disappear  - LA Times Staff Editorial
PRESIDENT BUSH today will take time out from his "listening tour" of his mistakes in Iraq to focus on one foreign policy initiative of which he can be justifiably proud. His "White House Summit on Malaria" will include many of the major players in the global fight against the disease. The meeting comes a year and a half after Bush announced a $1.2-billion crusade to combat malaria in the most afflicted countries in Africa.

Defeating malaria won't require miracle, Bush tells summit  - John Donnelly, Boston Globe
President Bush yesterday told an audience at a global malaria summit that the world has the ability to eliminate the disease that kills more than 1 million people a year, saying "the only question is whether we have the will to act."

First Lady Laura Bush Commends 'Madness Against Malaria' for Its Creative Fundraising Effort  - PR Newswire Press Release
"Madness Against Malaria," a unique international fundraising event based on the March Madness basketball tournament, was commended for its efforts by First Lady Laura Bush during her speech at the White House Summit on Malaria on December 14, 2006. Specifically, Mrs. Bush cited the campaign as an example of how the power of the Internet could be creatively harnessed to fight malaria.

U.S. to step up fight against malaria in Africa  - Charles Thomas, ABC
President Bush Thursday announced the expansion of U.S. efforts to help fight malaria in Africa. The president and first lady hosted a summit on the issue in Washington. The president says the U.S. campaign will focus on eight more African countries. That includes money for mosquito nets, spraying and drugs. ABC7's Charles Thomas recently traveled to Africa with Senator Barack Obama. He took a look at just how devastating and deadly malaria is.

Bush Celebrates Early Victories in Campaign Against Malaria  - Celia Dugger
Malaria, a deadly tropical disease long overshadowed by AIDS, shared the stage with the president and the first lady on Thursday when the Bushes were the hosts of a forum at the National Geographic Society to raise the profile of this neglected scourge.

Bush adds 8 countries to campaign to combat malaria in Africa  - The Associated Press
President George W. Bush on Thursday added eight countries to a U.S. initiative aimed at combating malaria in Africa and reducing the disease's mortality rate by 50 percent in the targeted nations.

Experts in Africa Welcome New Anti-Malaria Initiative  - Scott Bobb VOA
VOA covers the White House Summit on Malaria, and quotes Prof. Maureen Coetzee:

"We have not had this kind of drive for malaria control since the 1960s so it is really good to see it happening and it is certainly not before [its] time," said Coetzee.

A new idea: find out what works  - Michela Wrong, New Stateman
Measurement of aid programs is crucial to program development and success.

US talks aim to reverse malaria failure  - Andrew Jack, Financial Times
The world's leading malaria specialists gather in Washington on Thursday against the backdrop of an uncomfortable truth: their continued failure to tackle one of the most lethal diseases.

Mother: My daughter died for nothing  - Jeff Koinange,
In the northern Kenyan coastal town of Kilifi, a young mother grieves. Twenty-six-year-old Sidi Nyanche has just lost her 4-month-old daughter, Ayeesha, to malaria -- a largely preventable disease that kills about 750,000 children each year in Africa, according to the World Health Organization. "My child died for nothing," Nyanche said in her native Swahili. "Her death could have easily been prevented."

Laura Bush to open White House summit on malaria  - John Donnelly
First Lady Laura Bush will open a White House summit on malaria Thursday in hopes that global partners and ordinary Americans, including schoolchildren, will work together to eliminate the scourge, which kills roughly 1 million people mostly in Africa.

US talks aim to reverse malaria failure  - Andrew Jack
The FT reports on the White House Summit on Malaria and quotes AFM's Roger Bate.... "The attempts to eradicate malaria are often talked about as a failure but it was eliminated in the Caribbean in the 1950s and 1960s," says Roger Bate from the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington free-market think-tank.

NZ scientists make malaria advance  - New Zealand Herald
New Zealand researchers are working on a novel weapon to combat malaria parasites that kill about two million people a year, mostly in the tropics.

A big opportunity for business-minded philanthropists  - The Economist
THIS Thursday George and Laura Bush are due to host a most unusual product launch. The new brand to be unveiled with much fanfare at a White House summit is malaria¯or, more precisely, the eradication of malaria. The brains behind the summit, a group of business leaders and philanthropists operating under the auspices of a non-governmental organisation called Malaria No More, are convinced that the time is right to launch what they hope will be the next big thing in the giving business.

World Bank approves $180 million to help Nigeria's fight against malaria  - ReliefWeb
The World Bank today approved its largest-ever malaria control project with a US$ 180 million interest-free credit for Nigeria a country which suffers some of the most severe human and economic costs from malaria worldwide. The new project will support Nigeria's National Malaria Control Program in its efforts to halve the country's malaria deaths by 2010. Nigeria is the eleventh African country so far to receive help from the World Bank's Malaria Control Booster Program, set up just 15 months ago, to help African countries reduce the deaths, illness, and economic losses caused by malaria on the continent each year.

Malaria Parasite 'Has Many Tools to Infect Humans'  - Ochieng' Ogodo
New research into the genetic diversity of the most feared malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, indicates that making an effective malaria vaccine may be even more difficult than scientists had thought.

Gates Foundation gives $83 mln to fight malaria  - Reuters
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday pledged $83.5 million to fight malaria by paying for better controls, vaccine research and prevention of a disease that kills more than a million people a year.

Malaria fight gains political muscle  - Sandi Doughton
Two of the world's most influential women are banding together to fight malaria, and one of them is coming to the table with a lot of cash.

Melinda Gates, Unbound  - Marilyn Chase
After the birth of her first child a decade ago, Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, left her job as a manager at the software giant and devoted her time to caring for their children and quietly guiding strategy for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropic powerhouse the couple founded.

Even with treatment, malaria takes its toll  - Ed Cropley
I'd always been under the impression that malaria, if treated quickly, was no worse than a bad bout of 'flu -- a bit of a temperature and some aches and pains but nothing too severe.

Malaria: mosquito-borne killer  - Reuters
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a new global effort to find a vaccine against malaria, which infects up to 500 million people a year. On Dec. 14, U.S. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush will host a White House summit on malaria, bringing together multilateral institutions, African civic leaders and non-governmental organisations to discuss and highlight measures for fighting the disease.

Scientists Hail New Malaria DNA Research  - Jessica Berman
Experts say new research is pointing scientists in the direction of better malaria surveillance and treatment. As VOA's Jessica Berman reports, scientists have compared the genetic material of malaria parasites from around the world, and they say the development could eventually mean staying one step ahead of one of the world's most common and deadly diseases.

Malaria 'speeds spread of Aids'  - BBC News
There may be a link between malaria and the spread of the Aids virus across Africa, research by scientists working in Kenya suggests.

Uganda: EU Okays DDT Use Against Malaria  - Harriette Onyalla
THE European Union (EU) has given Uganda the green light to use DDT in the fight against malaria.

Malaria accelerates HIV infection — study  - Tamar Kahn
CAPE TOWN — Malaria appears to be fuelling the spread of HIV/AIDS in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study to be published today in the International Journal of Science.

Pinning down parasites  - The Economist
A new map of malaria should help control the disease.

Finally clearing the air  - The Economist
An American-led drive against one of the world's most dreadful diseases could learn from past mistakes.

Uganda: Fears About DDT Spraying Are Baseless  - Chris Baryomunsi
MALARIA imposes enormous human suffering and economic costs on many poor countries including Uganda. Globally, malaria infects between 300 million and 500 million people and kills more than two million every year.

African Health Officials Prepare for New Malaria Vaccine  - Efam Dovi
Officials are meeting in Ghana to discuss ways to get an early start on administering malaria vaccines in Africa. The vaccine is currently on trial in six African countries. Malaria is a major cause of death for children in sub-Sahara Africa. Efam Dovi has more on the story for VOA, from the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

Malaria map aims to tackle killer disease  - Patricia Reaney
Researchers are creating a global malaria map to tackle the killer disease by pinpointing the areas where it strikes most often.

'Malaria atlas' project launched  - BBC News
Researchers in Kenya and Britain say they are creating a global map to pinpoint locations where malaria is most likely to strike.

BURKINA FASO: Community programme bites back against malaria  - IRIN News
KOSSILCY, 1 December (IRIN) - Zenabou Nikiema smiles gratefully as she breastfeeds her two-year-old son and recalls the night a high fever shook his body until he nearly fell unconscious.

Improved Understanding Of New Malaria Treatment  - Medical News Today
Drugs based on the substance artemisinin (derived from a Chinese herb) are now the main hope in the battle against malaria.

Mexico to assist in malaria fight  - Daily News Correspondent
The new Mexican President, Mr Felipe Calderon, has pledged his country's assistance to the anti-malaria campaign in Tanzania

Successful tests of malaria vaccine underway  - Mu Xuequan
More positive developments in the race to produce a malaria vaccine...

WHO: DDT Needed to Fight Malaria  - James M. Taylor
WHO head Arata Kochi said, "One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual house spraying. Of the dozen insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT."

Chinese health experts back DDT  - Josephine Maseruka
Prof. Wang Shanqing, a Chinese expert on malaria, has provided evidence of the efficacy of DDT to reduce malaria rates.
WITNESS-Even with treatment, malaria takes its toll
11 Dec 2006 02:37:13 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Ed Cropley

BANGKOK, Dec 10 (Reuters) - I'd always been under the impression that malaria, if treated quickly, was no worse than a bad bout of `flu -- a bit of a temperature and some aches and pains but nothing too severe.

After a week in hospital hooked up to quinine and saline drips, followed by two weeks off work, followed by a bout of a different form of the parasite, followed by another two weeks off work, that view has changed.

I suppose I should have expected as much from a disease that kills an African child every 30 seconds, one which the United Nations estimates puts a "growth penalty" on some sub-Saharan countries of up to 1.3 percent of gross domestic product a year.

A healthy 33-year-old, I lost 7 kg (15 lb) -- nearly 10 percent of my bodyweight -- in a week, and was out of action for the best part of six weeks despite being lucky enough to receive treatment in a First-World Thai hospital.

Most of the 300-500 million people who get malaria each year -- from Africa to South America to Asia -- have scant access to medical resources, resulting in hit-and-miss diagnosis and less effective treatment.


In the jungle of eastern Myanmar, where I was infected while reporting on the plight of ethnic Karen fleeing an offensive by the military junta, correct diagnosis can be the difference between life and death.

The bamboo hut that doubled as a medical centre in one refugee village housed several suspected malaria cases -- men, women and children lying listlessly on mats waiting for the next wave of fever to attack.

Large, grubby jars of anti-malarial pills sat on a shelf nearby but the orderly, who had no formal medical training, refused to treat the patients until he knew what type of malaria they had.

"We have no microscopes here. We just have to wait for the fevers to come," he said. Different strains of malaria have different life cycles, he explained, and require different treatments.

Two weeks later, I would be putting his advice to personal use when I came down with a fever that returned almost exactly 48 hours later -- a classic symptom of "Plasmodium falciparum", the most serious strain that accounts for nearly all malaria's one million or more victims each year.

It was only after two more days and two microscope blood tests at hospital that the diagnosis was sure.


Falciparum can lead quickly to "cerebral malaria" due to clogging of the arteries going to the brain. Had I been a small child, the delay could have meant brain damage or even death.

As it was, it was a frightening and debilitating experience.

The shivers were so severe I could hardly hold a pen to sign my hospital admission papers. Every bone in my body felt like it was being crushed in a vice.

After 12 hours of popping large quinine pills, my body reacted violently against the drug, inducing half-hourly vomiting that would last for two days.

Doctors started delivering the quinine intravenously, another option unavailable to many Third World victims. That made sure the drug stayed inside me but intensified the nausea.

For three days, I was too weak to stand any my blood platelet count slid to 10 percent of normal levels, meaning I could not brush my teeth, shave, or do anything else that might cause bleeding.

As I dimly recalled reports of drug-resistant strains of malaria surfacing in Myanmar, for the first time in my life I wondered whether I would make it.

An Australian army friend later recounted his brush with falciparum during a tour of duty with the United Nations in Cambodia in the early 1990s.

As he emerged from several days of delirium, a doctor handed him a scrap of paper on which somebody had scrawled a poem about being too young to die and fear of "the other side".

"Bloody hell," my friend said. "Who wrote this?"

"You did," the doctor replied.