As the rain comes to southern Africa this month, it will bring with it more malaria deaths. But in a glimmer of hope, Zambia, where malaria kills 30,000 people annually, is launching a campaign — aided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — aimed at cutting the country’s malaria deaths by 75% in three years. This New York Times editorial suggests that if all goes well, “Zambia will show the world how cost-effective fighting malaria can be.” New York Times, The (11/22)

Most of the money will come from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. But the project was organized by the Gates Foundation, which has recently made several huge donations to speed the development of a malaria vaccine and better medicines and insecticides.

The foundation’s donation to the Zambia program is only $35 million. But that is because there is no mystery and no enormous expense to fighting malaria. Everyone knows what is effective – providing insecticide-treated nets for people to sleep under, spraying the insides of houses with insecticide, giving drugs prophylactically to pregnant women, and replacing ineffective medicines with new ones that cure the disease. These things work, and they are cheap. South Africa has proved that with a business-financed project to eradicate malaria in selected regions. But Zambia will be the first test on a national scale.

Tags: ,