Malaria Consortium 2008-9 Annual Review Launch 4 February 2010
London, 4 January 2010: Yesterday evening saw the launch of Malaria Consortium’s 2008-9 Annual Review at a reception in Westminster. Among the audience of approximately 50 people were representatives from donors, corporations, NGOs and the media, as well as Malaria Consortium supporters and colleagues.
The evening was presided over by Executive Director of Malaria Consortium, Sunil Mehra, who welcomed everyone and introduced the guests of honour. Speakers included Stephen O’Brien MP, Chairman of Malaria Consortium and Shadow Health Minister, Richard Graham, Head of International Grants, Comic Relief and David Applefield, Financial Times (FT) Special Representative for Africa, the Middle East, and Emerging Markets, and Project Manager for the FT's Combating Diseases series.
Richard Graham from Comic Relief challenged many current approaches to controlling disease and funding health initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. He questioned whether his own organisation’s approach, and those of others is correct.
“One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that there are few – if any – substantial challenges in development that aren’t ‘messy’; by which I mean challenges that are characterised by a complex system of ‘sub problems’ in which many different issues are woven together in an interdependent way,” said Richard.
“I worry that too often, the ‘messiness’ of sustainable malaria control isn’t acknowledged and this can lead to deficiencies in the conceptualisation of malaria programmes and policies. Secondly, messy problems require a genuine learning culture so that as lessons are learned, and changes in approaches and policies can be applied. Yet the investment in monitoring, evaluation and learning that relate to meaningful malaria control outcomes - not just outputs - often seems inadequate. And if communications around malaria fails to recognise the messiness of malaria, it risks raising expectations that will, ultimately, lead to disappointment and disillusionment. We all have a way to go on these fronts – Comic Relief included.”
Richard concluded by saying that the reason Comic Relief has invested substantially in a knowledgeable and reflective organisation such as Malaria Consortium, is because it is well placed to steer the course between hyperbole and doom, and reach…”a deeper understanding of the causes and some of the most effective responses to sustainable malaria control”.
The FT’s David Applefield spoke about the partnership between the FT and Malaria Consortium and explained to the audience how he and his colleagues had convinced the management to dedicate an insert solely to malaria on World Malaria Day 2009 - the first of its kind. This insert had been taken up across the globe and has now formed part of the FT’s Combating Disease series, said Mr Applefield, and as a result there will be another one published for World Malaria Day 2010. He outlined the various thematic areas that this insert would cover and encouraged the audience to get in touch should they wish to contribute in their respective areas of expertise.
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