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Submitted by Doctor Michel ODIKA on
We are at a crucial moment in our response to malaria. This year marks a decade since the Millenium Summit was held (September 2000, New York). At the 55th session of the United Nations General Assembly, global leaders agreed that malaria was a development issue of the highest priority. Since then, however, there has been little progress in reducing mortality, rallying political leadership, improving governance and mobilizing resources. LESSONS ON DEALING WITH MALARIA Malaria has reached crisis levels in much of Africa. Otherwise said, most sub-Saharan African countries are now paying the price for decades of inadequate investment in environmental safety and sustainability. Across the region, for example, people experience a damaging mismatch between where money is most needed (hygiene, sanitation and prevention) and where money is most spent (care and treatment, counterfeit drugs included). To date, consequently, poor sanitation is the single biggest obstacle to an innovative, effective, sustained and wide-reaching response to malaria, making it ever more unrealistic to hope the disease mortality -notably childhood mortality- will be reversed by 2015, the goal set out in the Millenium Declaration (United Nations, September 2000). MALARIA OBSERVATORY: CAPACITY BUILDING TOWARDS EFFECTIVE AND INNOVATIVE RESPONSES Better governance and further leadership are still urgently required, and thus these two areas of focus remain essential. But now there is widespread recognition that a third focus is also crucial and vital: Making the available resources (human, financial, technical) work more effectively. That, in the final analysis, is the chief reason why I advocate for a "Malaria Observatory" (1,2,3) in my native country (Congo-Brazzaville, Central Africa). To me, such an approach appears to be, not only a "sweeping shift from the reactive to the active and strategic", but equally a "strong foundation on which to build an effective and innovative response to malaria. Detailed explanations of this Human Development Project can be found through comments on an article: - entitled "Malaria Deaths in Africa" (Scientific American); - written by Jeffrey SACHS (notorious health economist); - available at SO TO SPEAK... Malaria "simply" rewrites the rules. And - not surprisingly - to prevail we too must rewrite these rules in ways that save millions of lives and billions of dollars. Best regards. Doctor Michel ODIKA 1. Malaria Observatory (Slide presentation available at 2. Advocacy for a Malaria Observatory in Congo-Brazzaville ( 3. Action on malaria at a cross-roads (