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Malaria: A 25% Solution.

May 5, 2012

 I visited three new sites and one longstanding project. All faced enormous gaps in medicines, diagnostics and malaria control activities. In some areas the last bed net distribution was 3 years ago, and no indoor residual spraying had been done in over a year. Although a few areas were overstocked with rapid diagnostic tests, many had none; most had no artemisinin combination therapy (ACTs, the first line treatment) or pediatric ACT formulations. Oral and parenteral quinine was generally available, but not parenteral artemisinins, and there were few transfusion materials to treat people with severe malaria-related anemia. These disparities sometimes existed within the same administrative zone.

This article certainly feels accurate based on experience in Indonesia & Timor-Leste. Here, funding covers little more than 1/4 of standard interventions. As a result, transmission continues only minorly abated, with all that entails. Instead of moving towards control, we’re simply dealing with temporary reductions in a continued epidemic.

Is malaria a preventable disease? Yes. We can stop the great majority of cases and deaths. Eradicable? I’d like to find out. But with the weak and impartial application of even the existing tools answering this question is entirely impossible.

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