NEWS: UK Malaria Community Meet to Discuss 2010 and BeyondNov 11, 2009
11 November 2009: While there have been considerable reductions in malaria deaths in endemic countries and the burden of malaria has been lifted for many, it is critical that the malaria community continues to look beyond 2010 towards what is still a large, unfinished agenda.
This was the message from Dr Robert Newman, director of the Global Malaria Programme at the World Health Organisation
, to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG)
. Chaired by Stephen O’Brien MP, the group met yesterday to discuss working towards solutions for the elimination of malaria.
Speaking about challenges ahead, Dr Newman said there was much that still needed to be done: “This should include scaling up for universal long-lasting insecticidal net coverage particularly in countries like Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But it is also important to have keep-up strategies following them.”
There is a need to invest in better surveillance, monitoring and evaluation, he added, and initiatives that would help mitigate various new threats such as the spread of resistance, quality of malaria commodities and the lack of capacity at endemic country level.
Dr David Bell, Head of the Malaria Diagnostics Programme at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND)
, presented a joint WHO/ FIND project on the problem of over-diagnosis or over-treatment of malaria and the role of Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) in reducing malaria cases.
Oliver Sabot, Director of the Malaria Control Team at the Clinton Foundation
, commented on how the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria
, hosted by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
, is due to begin subsidising anti-malarial drugs in June 2010 after technical proposals submitted by participating countries are approved in the next few days.
The final speaker, George Jagoe, Executive Vice-President of Global Access at Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)
, led a discussion on expanding access to treatment through community health worker (CHW) initiatives. CHWs provide hope for those in more rural areas, offering innovative methods of drug deliverance. The discussion focused on how such initiatives could be scaled up to bridge the gap in child mortality, and be integrated with other health issues in order to provide a comprehensive package to communities.
Set up in 2004, the APPMG is designed to raise awareness amongst British Parliamentarians of the devastation caused by malaria. It aims to provide a forum where solutions, urgent and long term, can be promoted. The next meeting of the group will be on 24 November 2009 on The Threat of Insecticide Resistance to Public Health.
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