Malaria in Africa: The Issue of Poverty
The fight against malaria in Africa is synonymous with to fight against poverty. Most African states often find themselves allocating considerable amounts of time and money to the fight against malaria. The annual expenditure against this fight costs these states a total of $12 billion. This expenditure has a negative impact on the social and economic development of these states. On realizing this, the World Bank took the initiative of halving deaths caused by malaria in Africa during the year 2005 under a program called Roll Back Malaria. The relative success of this program and the complexity of the issue of expenditure just discussed led the World Bank to initiate a similar booster program meant to intensify the fight against malaria in Africa. The booster program subdivided into three phases each comprising of three years is meant to help the Roll Back Malaria initiative achieve its goal of totally annihilating malaria from Africa by 2015. The progress so far achieved under these initiatives can best be understood by taking a closer look at how the World Bank allocates human and financial resources towards these initiatives. Efficient and equitable allocation of these resources is in turn intended to help these states live up to their commitments of attaining the millennium development goals (Paul 2011).
Millennium development goals in vulnerable African countries can be achieved best when control for malaria is sustainable. Malaria is one of the eight goals. Other goals directly related to prevention and control of Malaria include maternal health, child mortality, and control of other infectious diseases e.g. AIDS. The intervention of the World Bank towards eradicating malaria in these states helps reduce the cost burden due to malaria, thereby, putting these states in a better position of achieving the set goals.
The control of malaria in Africa has for recent years been receiving a boost from several quarters other than the World Bank. These include Bill and Melinda gates foundation, Global Fund that fights Malaria, Aids, and Tuberculosis, and the United States President Malaria Initiative. The intervention of the World Bank booster program helps in bridging the gap between the inadequate contributions made by these initiatives and the actual target of $ 6 billion that is required (World Bank 2007).
The recent progress in the fight against malaria has been largely due to an increase in funds allocated towards the control of this pandemic. These interventions have led to a decline in deadlocks that existed before in the procurement, production, and delivery of materials meant to contain malaria. African countries are also encouraged to adopt therapies that use artemisinin to enhance treatment for Malaria.
Beneficiary countries under the World Bank program have undertaken plans meant to contain the spreading of Malaria. Part of the plan is to distribute nets treated with insecticides like power tab every month to people living in mosquito-infested areas. The success of these goals is pegged on the efficiency of the service monitoring system put in place by Roll Back Malaria partners. The progress made under these initiatives is evident from data documented from hospitals across these countries which show a decline of Malaria related cases. A survey carried out under the directives of the World Bank showed that most hospitals floors were devoid of the once huge number of patients who visited regularly due to malaria-related complications (World Bank 2007).
Control and prevention of malaria are achieved best through reducing the rate at which it is transmitted. The invention of durable insecticide-treated mosquito nets has had a great impact on the achievement of this end. Moreover, the use of long-lasting indoor residual spraying during transmission seasons can be done by trained professionals. Also, during pregnancy, the use of intermittent preventive treatment helps reduce the rate of transmission especially among pregnant women suffering from conditions such as premature delivery, anemia, and placental malaria. Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine has been proven to be an efficient drug for administration in intermittent preventive treatment (Mckinsey & Co. 2008).
Allocation of funds under the booster program is monitored by the World Health Organization’s Global program for malaria. This activity ensures that WHO’s standards are met and that its policies are observed. The essence of this is to provide a guideline towards a sustained malaria intervention program through a transparent and efficient allocation of resources (Paul 2011). The resources allocated under the program go towards the acquisition of vector control substances, drugs, long-lasting mosquito nets, and for funding of an awareness campaign.
The fight against malaria has been a collective effort of a partnership formed under Roll Back Malaria. Besides World Bank and WHO, other stakeholders include United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Children’s Fund. The joint effort is meant to provide cost relief to the financially challenged who are not in a position to acquire treatment, drugs, or even afford vector control materials.
Malaria is a disease for the poor and the focus on prevention and control of malaria in Africa receives justification given the fact that 90 percent of malaria-related deaths occur in Africa. This figure is, by all means, appalling considering that only 40 % of all deaths related to malaria are ever recorded (World Bank 2007). That notwithstanding, the World Bank initiative has borne much fruit though the additional allocation of resources towards the fight against malaria is recommended. This will ultimately help African states achieve millennium development goals.
Mckinsey & Co. (2008). We Can’t Afford to Wait: The Business Case for Rapid Scale-Up of Malaria Control in Africa: Malaria No More, New York, NY: Bergahn Books.
Paul J. F. (2011).Health Policy Issues: An Economic Perspective 5th Edition. Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.
World Bank. (2007). Healthy Development: The World Bank Strategy for Health, Nutrition and Population Report. Washington, DC: World Bank.