In a blog on LinkedIn yesterday, Ray Chambers, the Special Envoy for Malaria to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, sent out a public statement titled 'Saving the lives of 4 million children in 1000 days'. Making reference to the fact that the Millennium Development Goals end by December 2015, Chambers still holds the conviction that we can bring malaria mortality down to zero by the end of 2015. He asserts that the key players to accomplish this are in place, that the solution is simple and not expensive, and that we should do this. It sounds great - and given the comments under his blog ('Inspiring', 'Absolutely will join in an effort to save children', 'Few things could be more important') Chambers will certainly reach the goal of drawing more attention to malaria. Indeed, if you're not familiar with the malaria world, than it simply sounds outrageous that the world has not succeeded in putting every soul under a net in endemic settings, that we have not eliminated malaria in the south just like we did in the north half a Century ago, and that evidence (ca. 1 million deaths averted) over the last decade has clearly shown that we CAN save many lives. But is this realistic?
Bart G.J. Knols's blog
This morning I opened the newspaper and read about the breakthrough in science that we now have the complete biochemical 'routemap' of man, us. A few days ago I read an article about rats being capable of training other rats through electrical brain signals. Scientific developments are ongoing at an unprecedented speed - we live in exciting times.
It is well known that creative thinking is affected by environmental variables. That's why researchers engage in 'off-site' events. Take them out of their comfort zone of the lab or office and miracles may happen.
I have been a member of Rotary International for the past three years. During that time I have met several people working on malaria that are also Rotarians. Rotary International is heavily engaged in the polio eradication campaign (through its international campaign 'End polio now' and has been instrumental in getting polio vaccination underway in the 1980s when the disease was still rampant.
The video below is an interview with Dr. Jo Lines posted online two weeks ago. Dr. Lines is currently with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine again after several years of serving the World Health Organization in Geneva. He has been one of the frontline people in the science surrounding insecticide-treated bednets, and later in advocacy and uptake of this simple technology that has saved an estimated 1 million lives over the past decade. A remarkable achievement no doubt. Have a look...
Six days ago, on January 11, Aaron Swartz committed suicide. As a malariologist you may not know who he was (I also had not heard of him to be honest), and that's why I pay tribute to him here. Aaron's extraordinary life, during which he mobilised millions of people around the world to fight for freedom on the web and free access to information, amongst many other accomplishments, ended too soon (read about him here). Why he committed suicide remains unknown, but he was charged with a 35 years sentence to prison and a 1 million dollar fine, for downloading several million scientific articles from the JSTOR database. Articles for which he had in mind to make them publicly available to the world. Because he believed that scientific information needs to be available to those that can make good use of it and should not be locked behind paywalls. At MalariaWorld we believe the same. But was it worth dying for this cause?
At MalariaWorld we aim to serve you - it's the very reason we exist.
But every year in December, during the festive season, we ask you for a small favour in return. A small gift in return for a full year of weekly newsletters that we drop in your mailbox, and a website full of information on malaria that you all receive for free.
This year we are not asking anything for MalariaWorld itself. Instead we have another cause for which we ask your support...