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Financial Boost To Malaria Fight Would Result In Beneficial Gains

“[A] surge in money for [insecticide-treated] nets and other interventions” to fight malaria over the past decade has reduced the malaria-related death rate by 26 percent since 2000, and a “new push” to fight the disease, which killed 655,000 people in 2010, would have beneficial results, according to a report set to be released by Ray Chambers, the U.N. special envoy for malaria, an Economist editorial notes. “But raising the cash will be tricky and getting the promised result harder still,” the editorial states. The African Leaders Malaria Alliance estimates that “[u]niversal deployment of good treatment, diagnostics and preventive measures, including bed nets, would — in theory — prevent 640 million malaria cases and three million deaths by 2015, the paper explains,” and notes “[t]his would cost at least $6.7 billion between 2012 and 2015,” the Economist writes.

“But, says the report, it would be a brilliant investment, yielding an astonishing $231 billion to $311 billion, counted in lives saved and malaria cases averted, if you factor in productivity gains and savings in the cost of treatment,” according to the editorial. However, “[t]hat $6.7 billion is not likely to materialize in its entirety soon,” the editorial states, adding the cost does not include health care worker training or surveillance improvements. In addition, “counterfeit or substandard medicines are particularly worrying,” with drug- and insecticide-resistant malaria parasites developing, the editorial notes, concluding, “The battle is far from over” (7/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.