Year after year in December we're seeing the fruits of our collective efforts to combat malaria reflected in the 'World Malaria Report' series produced by the World Health Organisation. And in those reports, year after year, we saw progression in terms of falling numbers of deaths. But today we're confronted with a harsh reality - the figures that were presented to us were off. Way off.
Bart G.J. Knols's blog
This guest editorial was written by Dr. Lotte Van Dijk in The Netherlands.
Many of you will have come across counterfeit or substandard drugs in your careers and I’m sure many of you will understand my frustration. Therefore, I was really happy to see that the study on poor-quality anti-malarials by Dr Paul Newton and his team got the attention of the media. Even though their study was not large-scale and even though it cannot provide an accurate estimation of the prevalence of the fake anti-malarials all over Africa, it does provide an insight into the seriousness of the problem: it is severe!
Behind the scenes at MalariaWorld, we keep a close eye on where our site visitors originate from. Nothing secretive (and we don't see names, so do not worry!), it's just Google analytics that I receive every single week.
The article below was contributed by journalist Ntaryike Divine Jr. (Douala, Cameroon) as part of the SjCOOP project in collaboration with MalariaWorld.
On August 20 2011 amid bloated pomp, Cameroon’s Prime Minister Philemon Yang flagged off a countrywide government campaign to distribute over 8.6 million long lasting insecticidal mosquito bednets gratis. But the operation that was initially slated to span a dozen days from 8 to 20 September is yet to take off in six of the country’s ten administrative regions.
Today Roll Back Malaria published a 'Leadership Interview' with Dr. Newman, Director of WHO's Global Malaria Programme and Mr. Brandling-Bennett, Deputy Director of the malaria programme at the Gates Foundation. For the full interview, see here. This interview marks an important development: WHO declares that the Millennium Development Goal's target of zero deaths by the year 2015 'was a wildly ambitious goal'. Are we seeing the first cracks in the promises made at the beginning of this millennium?
A perspective article carrying the above title appeared in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene this month. As it was freely accessible I have taken the liberty to attach it to this editorial (hoping the publisher will not come after me...) for those of you that have not seen it.
When students embark on research in the field of malaria they receive a pile of published articles from their supervisors to bring them up to speed. Great papers in Nature and Science, and students, for sure, hope that one day their names will appear in the list of authors on an article in one of these journals. Remember that feeling? I sure do. And did. But the world is changing...
The past few weeks have been good for the press when it gets to malaria. First they discovered what many of us knew all along: that resistance to pyrethroids is on the rise and may jeopardise the usefulness of LLINs. Then they marvelled at the 'outbreak' in Greece, where six were diagnosed with P. vivax malaria without ever having left the country. And this week's high is the story that mosquito numbers in Africa are dropping for some mysterious reason. The more money that goes into malaria research, the more scientists are coming out with remarkable findings, and the press gulps it up and make the stories ever more gripping. Which I understand...
As I write the title of this editorial I know that I don’t have the answer to it. But it is an issue that is a lot on my mind these days. Let me tell you why...