Dr. Arata Kochi, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, has received a lot of press recently for his aggressive approach to curbing malaria in developing countries - particularly in light of his crackdown on suppliers of artemisinin monotherapies. Today's profile in the New York Times comes close on the heels of a similar article in the Lancet as well as a Q&A with the Global Health Council. Coming from the TB community, which has unified and mobilized around the DOTS strategy, Dr. Kochi brings a clear understanding of the need for greater consensus in the currently divisive field of malaria:
What lessons have you learned from your past experiences as head of TB and AIDS at WHO that you will apply - that you can apply - in this position?
Science comes first. Politics comes second. Take clear positions. Make everybody, including, WHO, accountable.
When you look back at your tenure, what will you want to have achieved?
Concerning malaria, once we develop clear strategies, we want to get a consensus. These strategies will be adapted and implemented in many countries. We hope these interventions will produce an impact, and we are crossing our fingers. Because instead of first trying to focus on impact - that's where many public health programs fail - I'm focusing on key, technically sound interventions. We're first going to scale-up a particular intervention well. Only that way will one get the impact.