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More Evidence against Malaria Means Smarter Use of Funds (Financial Times)

April 24, 2017
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From the op-ed: 

Malaria imposes a heavy burden on the world. Figures vary but every year it causes more than 400,000 deaths in low-income countries and costs governments and families a sum estimated to be at least $12bn.

For those seeking to find and fund a solution, the question, as with all healthcare matters, is how to assess the available information to ensure that limited resources have maximum impact.

According to the Global Fund to fight tuberculosis, HIV and malaria, the $2.5bn a year received from governments and other donors that it spends on malaria “is less than half the amount required to maintain the gains against this disease”. Its interventions range from providing bednets to training village elders in Africa how to identify early symptoms in children.

But how are such concrete steps chosen and how can the Global Fund deploy its resources to best effect? Choosing which products to subsidise is an important start. Take the case of bednets. The World Health Organization’s group that reviews new and costlier nets says “a complete switch [from those in use] cannot currently be justified” as there is no evidence “to assume their higher efficacy”. More innovative nets with unproven benefits might cut resources available for existing cheaper ones.

Read the full op-ed here

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