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Opinions: Fight Against Malaria; Small, Medium Businesses In Developing Countries; BP Oil Spill Health Implications

Recommitting To Fight Against Malaria

Despite progress over the past decade in the global fight against malaria, significant challenges remain, Awa Marie Coll-Seck, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and former health minister of Senegal, writes in a Modern Ghana opinion piece ahead of World Malaria Day. “While countries could soon be able to distribute enough bednets to protect everyone at risk, achieving similar traction with treatment, diagnosis and indoor spraying has proven more difficult. More critically, growing drug and insecticide resistance, left unchecked, could leave millions without effective treatment and prevention options, essentially turning the clock back to the conditions of ten years ago.”

Coll-Seck continues, “Countries struggling with malaria and those that have long since eliminated it both have a role to play in fighting this disease. Political leaders in countries with malaria burdens must remain firm in their commitments, from increasing health budgets to improving supply lines. Donors must meet their own pledges and help find ways to bridge the gaps in necessary funding going forward. Malaria has proven itself to be a good investment” (4/20).

Importance Of Supporting Small-, Medium-Sized Enterprises In Developing Countries

While microfinance institutions (MFIs) “play an important role in development, there is an even greater need to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have shown to have the greatest potential for job growth in most places around the world,” Alan Patricof, founder and managing director of the venture capital company Greycroft Partners, writes in an opinion piece in Fortune’s “From the Crowd” blog. 

“By helping local entrepreneurs grow their businesses through equity capital – not just debt assistance – businesses can scale and in turn have a multiplier effect on employment and economic activity. This creates wealth of the sort that lifts people sustainably out of poverty,” Patricof writes, adding, “In this way, investors are helping to create thousands of jobs over an extended period of time in the areas of the world where it is most needed” (4/20).

Long-Term Health Effects Of The BP Oil Spill

Marking the first anniversary of the U.S.’ Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill, Stephen Bradberry, executive director of the Alliance Institute in New Orleans, describes the long-term health issues that may face the populations living in the Gulf region in an Inter Press Service opinion piece. “Oil exposure causes health consequences that range from chronic issues, such as acute headaches, dizziness, skin rashes, irritation of the eyes and throat, and vomiting, to more severe conditions, including reproductive problems, respiratory and nervous system failure, liver and kidney disorders, blood disorders, and several types of cancer,” Bradberry writes.

Although “[c]ommunities and organisations across the Gulf are pushing for greater leadership in responding to the developing health crisis,” Bradberry says that “[t]o date, there is no agency – state or federal – that is taking the lead in coordinating a regional initiative to screen, treat, care for, and support disaster victims.” He continues, “Our government and BP must carry through on their promise that coastal communities will be fully compensated for what has been imposed on them, and this must include provision of adequate, affordable, and accessible healthcare” (4/20).

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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.