Posts

Malaria, the number one killer of children in underdeveloped countries
Malaria is a devastating disease that occurs mostly in tropical and subtropical environments in areas around the world. Malaria is the number one killer of children in underdeveloped countries and is often responsible for the child mortality rates of children under the age of five. Failure to eradicate this disease in these countries is a result of poverty, scarce resources and socio-economic instability. In regions like Africa, mainly south of the Sahara region, those are of the major causes of the continued spread of this devastating disease, creating a noticeable link between malaria and poverty in underdeveloped countries

Malaria in Underdeveloped Countries

Malaria is the number one killer of children in underdeveloped countries. Children who contract severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anemia, respiratory malfunction and cerebral malaria. In areas where transmission is higher, children under the age of five are more susceptible to infection and death, with more than 70% of all malaria deaths falling into this group. Even though the number of malaria deaths within this age group had decreased by 155,00 in 2016, malaria remains the major cause of death for children under five years of age, ending a life every two minutes.

Malaria occurs when climate and other conditions suddenly favor transmission to areas where people have no immunity to malaria. They can also occur when people with low or no immunity move into areas of intense malaria transmission, for example, refugees and those looking for work. Human immunity plays a very important factor, especially in areas of moderate and intense transmission conditions. Partial immunity can be developed through the years, and while it never provides complete protection, can reduce the risk of infection. However, children under the age of five have not had the chance to build any kind of immunity because they have not been exposed to the disease.

The High Cost of Malaria

Malaria is directly related to poverty and economic inequality in underdeveloped countries due to the exponential costs that these countries must face by both individuals and governments. Costs include the purchase of necessary medication, treatment, maintenance, supply and staffing of trained personnel in health facilities, lost days of work with resulting loss of income, burial expenses and the overall loss of economic opportunities ventures through tourism during an outbreak.

Direct costs for illness, treatment and premature death are estimated to be at least $12 billion per year. Total funding for malaria control and elimination was only $2.7 billion in 2016, but this amount is not enough to eradicate the program to its completion. In order to hit the 2030 target from the WHO, an investment of $6,5 billion will be required annually by 2020. Which may be a problem because, on average since 2014, investments in malaria treatment and control have actually been declining in many highly affected countries.

Investing in the Eradication of Malaria

The level of progress in a specific country depends on the strength of that country’s national health system, the level of investment of the disease control and a number of factors including biological determinants, like the environment and the social, demographic, political and economic factors in a particular country.

Some of the challenges in trying to eradicate malaria include the lack of sustainable and predictable international and domestic funding, risks posed by countries in endemic areas, anomalous climate patterns, the emergence of parasite resistance to anti-malaria medicines and mosquito resistance to insecticides and other substances used for eradication and control purposes. In the 41 high-burden countries, malaria funding often remains below $2 per person.

All of these factors contribute to the reversal in recent progress of the eradication and continued treatment of the disease. Many high burden but low-income countries have reported reducing the funding per capita for the population at risk of malaria. For example, the complex situation of Nigeria, South Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen have all resulted in the interruption of services and increasing instances of malaria.

The Sucess of the Global Fund

The Global Fund response to malaria has been very successful, but it presents many future challenges in the battle of eradicating this disease. Between 2002 and 2017, the Global Fund has provided more than half of all international financing for malaria, investing $10.5 billion in programs aimed at controlling the disease in more than 100 countries. The approach targets several areas, such as education about symptoms, prevention and treatment; prevention methods like mosquito nets,  insecticides and preventive treatment for children and pregnant women and diagnosis.

The Global Fund works with at-risk communities by providing training and treatment to stop the disease. They provide information about what malaria is, how it is transmitted, what treatments are available and, most importantly, what action to take if malaria is detected. In Ghana, for example, village elders educate their community “not to let the sun set twice” on a child with a fever.

Malaria is a devastating disease that affects everyone but presents a higher risk in children under the age of five especially in areas like the sub-Saharan region in Africa. There is a noticeable link between Malaria and poverty in underdeveloped countries. The efforts to eradicate this disease have been enormous, but the lack of funding, the disease’s immunity to drugs and insecticides, the socio and economic instability of the governments of some of these countries and the lack of training and information about the disease present major challenges to the successful eradication of the disease. Investing must continue. Hopefully, the work of organizations such as the Global Fund will ensure a future without Malaria.

Mayra Vega
Photo: Flickr

Malaria in Uganda
More than 10,500 people die from malaria in Uganda annually. The country also has one of the highest rates of transmission and mortality rates due to malaria. Uganda has been described as a malaria-endemic country due to the particular hold the disease has on the area. Globally, Ugandans are one of the top five populations at risk for malaria. Malaria has been a serious health issue for decades and several measures have been taken to lessen the burden of the disease. The government of Uganda is working with several organizations to reduce the spread of malaria in Uganda.

The Uganda Malaria Strategic Plan

The Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan was implemented in 2014. The goals of the plan include reducing the mortality rate from malaria to almost zero by 2020, reducing the morbidity rate by nearly 80 percent by 2020 and reducing the malaria prevalence of the parasite to 7 percent by 2020. Their strategy is to quickly provide the general population with means of malaria control and prevention.

The plan has had great progress so far, the prevalence of malaria in the country has decreased from 42 percent in 2009 down to 19 percent in 2018, and deaths from malaria in Uganda have been cut in half. Although the plan has done well to ensure facilities are well stocked and prevention measures are taken, some are still receiving inadequate care.

Funding to Eradicate Malaria

The Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic plan is being implemented by the government’s Ministry of Health and supported by organizations such as the Global Fund and USAID. The plan provides details of its budget and where that money will be implemented. It is projected that the six-year plan will require $1,316,700.

These funds come from organizations like USAID and Global Fund and are used in each phase of the structure of the plan. The phases include but are not limited to ensuring access to malaria treatments and prevention methods, increasing the community’s knowledge surrounding the disease, increasing the treatment of malaria during pregnancy and strengthening the detection and response to this epidemic.

Problems at the Local Level

One of the problems is that some people are receiving the wrong treatment and care. The Moroto Regional Referral Hospital discovered that some patients were being treated for malaria despite negative test results. USAID’s Uganda Health Supply Chain Program has taken steps to change these incorrect medical practices and provide training to improve medical practices at Moroto Hospital.

Their steps have had an impact. The testing rate rose from 45 percent to 86 percent, and the number of patients mistakenly receiving treatment without a positive test result decreased from 31 percent to 9 percent. Other hospitals heard of the success at Moroto Hospital and have expressed interest in undertaking similar policies.

The future for the battle against malaria in Uganda is bright. Uganda won an award in January of 2017 for their significant progress in fighting malaria. The African Leaders Malaria Alliance recognized Uganda and 7 other countries for striving towards a malaria-free Africa. With local governments, leaders and aid organizations working together, permanent progress can be made. The country has already made great strides in their fight against malaria and there is optimism for a malaria-free future in Uganda.

– Olivia Halliburton
Photo: Flickr

Private Sector Key to Eliminating Malaria in Cambodia
Having already made substantial progress in the effort to eradicate malaria, Cambodia is one of the 17 countries in Southeast Asia looking to continue finding solutions to this problem and putting an end to this disease by 2025. The strategy of eliminating malaria in Cambodia hinges on a joint effort between the public sector and the private sector. With proposed solutions made by this collaboration, Cambodia is on the road to eliminating the disease by its projected period.

Malaria in Cambodia Numbers

In Cambodia, 1 million people become infected with malaria every year. Despite this high number of infections, there has been substantial progress made in working to find solutions to eradicating malaria. For example, in 2015, Youyou Tu received The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of artemisinin, a type of anti-malarial medicine that is being used today.

While efforts have been made in eradicating malaria in Cambodia, there is still a lot that needs to be done in order to achieve this goal. Of the 1 million people who become affected by malaria, around 1.5 percent and 10 percent of people that are located in distant provinces die. The parasite responsible for these deaths is the Plasmodium falciparum. To prevent the occurrence and spread of this disease, early intervention with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is the key. Yet, distribution of antimalarial medicines remains a challenge. While there are immediate and positive effects of ACT therapy, many people are not able to receive this medicine.

PSI/Cambodia

One organization that working on ending malaria in Cambodia is Population Services International/Cambodia (PSI/Cambodia). The purpose of this initiative is to work on health issues caused by HIV/AIDS, malaria and reproductive health of women who are going to give birth. In 2003, a program of PSI/Cambodia started to offer malaria treatment with the help of private clinics, pharmacies and shops in many parts of rural Cambodia. Of total Cambodia’s population, the poor are particularly at risk of getting the disease. As shown by this initiative, the private sector remains crucial for ending malaria in Cambodia.

Solutions to Ending Malaria in Cambodia

To meet the need for antimalarial medicines, the Global Fund, an international partnership organization, has proposed some essential solutions by the public sector working with the private sector for eradicating malaria in Cambodia. The first is to make sure there is access to effective antimalarial medicines that the private sector provides. This proposal also means the dispose of fake antimalarial drugs that are currently in the market. In addition, this means also the disposal of antimalarial drugs that do not meet the national guidelines.

Secondly, the report of the Global Fund urges organizations in the private sector to make sure they provide effective diagnostic testing. Lastly, the Global Fund recommends that there is widespread access to affordable antimalarial medicines for eradicating malaria in Cambodia, in order to allow for those living on less than $1.25 a day to purchase afford this life-saving treatment.

One way to achieve these proposals is subsidizing antimalarial medicines in order to allow consumers to be able to buy them. Another way to increase distribution of antimalarial medicine is through social marketing. In addition to making sure there is an effective treatment at a cost that people can afford, these same two strategies can be used for diagnostic testing.

With much progress having been made to end malaria in Cambodia, there is room for more improvement in order to reach the goal of eradicating the disease by 2025. With more joint effort between the public sector and private sector through subsidizing prices of antimalarial medicine, Cambodia can move one step closer to eradicating malaria.

– Daniel McAndrew-Greiner
Photo: Flickr

Product (RED)Apple is the world’s most valuable company and remains the most innovative company of 2018 according to the coveted Fast Company Magazine annual tally. Apple’s financial success began with the maturing of the iPod market in 2005. A year later, U2 frontman Bono worked with the then-CEO and founder Steve Jobs to launch a limited-edition iPod Product (RED).

Apple’s Product (RED) has raised more than $160 million. The contribution helps people affected by HIV in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia. (RED) has raised more than $475 million, and Apple generated two-thirds of the total. Funds collected by Apple through Product (RED) support The Global Fund, an organization that has granted $4 billion to local medical experts in more than 140 countries.

The partnership between corporations and nonprofits spearheaded by (RED) has boosted innovation and investments in the race to find a cure for AIDS. Fifty percent of all profit collected through Apple Product (RED) goes to the fight against AIDS. With Apple leading the way since 2006, a myriad of other notable companies has joined the fight including Starbucks, Bank of America, Coca-Cola and Beats by Dre.

Apple created a dedicated online storefront that features limited edition red colored products. The most recent additions include Apple Watch, Beats by Dre, iPad Type Cover, iPod Touch and now Apple Pay purchases made via Bank of America cards donate one dollar for every purchase.

The ultimate goal of (RED) has been to eliminate the transmission of the AIDs virus from mothers to their babies using innovative medical techniques like antiretrovirals which are supplied to mothers to prevent HIV from growing and multiplying within their bodies. Additionally, the babies are given Nevirapine daily for about six weeks or more, based on individual circumstances. Typically, mothers who adhere to this regimen can reduce the risk of transmission to their unborn children down to five percent.

Apple is a behemoth that has enamored many people around the planet. With its support of Product (RED) not only does it increase funding, but it helps bring awareness to the issues faced by underdeveloped countries. Links to Product (RED) and The Global Fund are directly embedded into Apple’s online storefront, and annually on World AIDS day the company launches merchandising material in all of its physical stores including digital marketing on Apple.com and the Apple App Store.

Apple has historically always used unique methods to achieve goals, and during recent world events like the earthquakes that took place in Haiti and Japan, it leveraged its mega-customer base on iTunes and the App Store to collect donations ranging from five dollars to 200 dollars. Apple is The Global Fund’s most substantial corporate donor, and CEO Tim Cook has continued to make philanthropy a central aspect of his legacy at Apple.

Apple aims to continue to revolutionize the world with its products, while also helping nonprofits implement technology that betters the planet. Through campaigns like Product (RED) and its ability to connect at a deep level with its customers, Apple has more than achieved this goal.

– Hector Cruz

Photo: Flickr

Canada and its Strong Stance on Sexism in Poverty
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently condemned sexism in poverty in response to a letter by the ONE Campaign. The open letter was released by Bono and the ONE Campaign on International Women’s Day in March. It was signed by some of the most influential women in the world, including Charlize Theron, Cheryl Sandberg and Angelique Kidjo.

Trudeau is the first world leader to formally respond, addressing the campaign thus: “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am writing back to let you know that I wholeheartedly agree: Poverty is Sexist. Women and girls are less likely to get an education, more likely to be impoverished, and face greater risk of disease and poor health.”

According to Melinda Gates, one reason poverty is sexist is time. It takes time to finish an education, learn a new life skill or start a business. Men in developing countries are more likely to have access to this time because women are responsible for the vast majority of unpaid housework. There are also more tangible barriers restricting women’s ability to work, whether in the form of laws barring women’s employment or a lack of access to child care for working mothers.

Trudeau had the opportunity to lead by example when Canada hosted the Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund in Montréal on Sept. 16. The conference brought global health leaders together to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. According to Trudeau, such collaboration is an important step to ending sexism in poverty because young women account for 74 percent of all HIV infections among adolescents in Africa.

Canada has increased its contribution to the Global Fund by 20 percent to $785 million CDN, all of which will go toward providing mosquito nets, medication and therapy. The Global Fund aims to save millions of lives and prevent hundreds of millions of new infections by 2019.

According to the ONE Campaign, nowhere in the world do women have the same opportunities as men do, a fact due in part to the sexism inherent in poverty. Trudeau’s response is one of many steps needed to rectify this major inequality.

Sabrina Santos

Photo: Flickr

foreign aid
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as former Finance Minister of Nigeria and as a managing director of the World Bank, is no stranger to managing the correct use of funds.

Okonjo-Iweala combatted corruption in her home country of Nigeria by establishing economic reforms and facilitating government transparency. As a consequence, Nigeria became alluring to foreign investors. According to Forbes, “Nigeria is the third largest economy in Africa with nearly $50 billion in foreign reserves.”

In a 2007 Ted Talk, Okonjo-Iweala discussed the importance of correctly managing funds, in particular, that of foreign aid. And yet, aid alone is not enough; local participation brings about the necessary solutions to improve development.

Writing for The Guardian, Okonjo-Iweala sites the importance of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria in reducing Malaria and Tuberculosis deaths as well as HIV infections.  The G8 supported endeavor resulted in 4.2 million people treated for HIV, 9.7 million for Tuberculosis and 310 bed nets for Malaria prevention.

The Global Fund was established in 2002 to fight and reduce Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis infections and deaths. As a multilateral aid fund, originally conceived in a G8 summit in Okinawa, Japan, the Global Fund contributed to improving global health and development saving around 9 million lives.

In Nigeria specifically, 45 million bed nets and 8.1 treatments of artemisinin-based therapy prevents and treats Malaria.

The combination of foreign aid working alongside local actors echoes the hope that Okonjo-Iweala discussed in her Ted Conference. Similarly, the Global Fund mobilizes funds from donor countries, the private and philanthropic center, social enterprises and individuals themselves. It is with the collaboration of all sectors that aid can truly improve the situation in both short and long term.

Miles Abadilla

Sources: Forbes, The Global Fund, TED, The Guardian, The Global Fund, TED
Photo: Giphy.com

korea_airline_tax_global_fund
The Korean Ministry of Health will contribute $6 million to the Global Fund for 2014-2016. An added $10 million will be paid by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in annual installments of $2 million from 2013-2017 from a levy on all passengers leaving Korea on international flights. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria welcome this announcement from Korea, which is now doubling its contribution over the next three years.

Introduced in 2007, this 1,000 won (US $0.95) levy, known as the Global Poverty Eradication Tax, was primarily used to contribute financial resources in order to fight poverty and disease in impoverished nations. For the 2011-2013 period, the Republic of Korea pledged $6 million. It is now nearly tripling that past commitment.

“The Republic of Korea is a trend-setter in the use of innovative funding methods to help fight the three diseases,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “In doubling its contribution, Korea is also leading the way for other G20 countries to follow.”

This contribution is a huge step ahead for the Republic of Korea, perhaps leading it on a path to achieving great power status. So far, it has contributed $19 million since it began providing financial support to the Global Fund in 2004. Perhaps this increase comes from the help that the Republic of Korea itself has received from the Global Fund. Since 2010, Global Fund grants in the Republic of Korea have funded the diagnosis and treatment of 120,000 cases of TB and the distribution of 710,000 mosquito nets.

“I hope that the decision of the Government of the Republic of Korea will help strengthen cooperation between my country and the Global Fund in financing for development in new and innovative ways in our fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.” said SHIN Dong-ik, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

– Sonia Aviv

Sources:  Vaccine News, The Global Fund, Business Wire
Photo: CTV News

global_fund_malaria_tuberculosis_donation_international_Aid_opt

As the donors of the Global Fund gather in Brussels, the amount of $15 billion was requested in order to replenish the organization’s money supply. This replenishing process occurs every three years for the Global Fund. In the 2011-2013 replenishing phase, the Global Fund was successful in reaching their goal of $12 billion. Therefore this new goal is a step up from previous endeavors.

In order to reach the Global Fund’s goal of $15 billion, many donors will have to ward off any potential budget cuts. Instead of succumbing to the current economic crisis that is enveloping the world, donors will have to step up to the challenge to fight global poverty. Reaching this goal will require Europeans to step up their commitments. It will require new donors, both from Europe and from emerging economies, to invest for the first time. It will require African nations, whose citizens are some of the most heavily impacted by diseases and whose economies are in some cases growing the fastest, to recommit to spending 15 percent of their national budgets on health. It will require new partnerships with the private, faith, and NGO sectors.

This will not be an easy task. However, if this goal is reached, the world would be a much different and better place in 2016. The Global Fund suggests: More than 18 million people in affected countries could receive antiretroviral treatment; 17 million patients with TB and multidrug-resistant TB could receive treatment, saving almost 6 million lives; millions of new cases of malaria would be prevented, saving approximately 196,000 additional lives each year than there would be based on their current budget level; and more than 1 million new HIV infections could be prevented annually.

While the amount of $15 billion may seem like a daunting figure, it is obtainable. Not only does the Global Fund need the support of its donors, it needs the support of everyone who cares about the issue. Everyone has a voice, it is their choice to use it. If you care about global poverty and support the Global Fund’s cause, please call your local representatives and express your support. The number of your local representatives can be found here.

– Matthew Jackoski

Source: ONE
Photo: Global Fund

globalfund
On March 21, 2013, Congress reaffirmed its support for the Global Fund by passing a continuing resolution that ensures support and funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Even with increased tension within Congress over budget cuts and a very tight budget, Congress has shown it understands how necessary and critical the work done by the Global Fund and its affiliates is in fighting these life-threatening diseases.

The Global Fund has helped combat these diseases and improve health by focusing on development assistance. A large part of its strategy has to do with providing the funds necessary in development and implementation of new technology and interventions that have and will continue to change the trajectory of these dangerous diseases. This funding comes from a lot of different sources, yet, the United States is by far the largest donor. With the US’s aid, the Global Fund is able to finance interventions in more than 150 countries across the globe.

This means that the world is on track to halve the amount of people affected by tuberculosis by 2015 (as compared to the 1990s numbers). Elimination of malaria in many territories is occurring and will continue to occur with the help of the Global Fund. New infections of HIV are on the decline in many countries as awareness and preventive methods are becoming more and more common. With the continued support of the United States – which comes across through Congress’ support of the bill – these numbers will only improve. The number of people affected by tuberculosis will continue on a downward spiral. More and more territories will be malaria free and HIV prevention will be a bigger concern than treating HIV.

– Angela Hooks

Source: allAfrica
Photo: The Global Fund

Global Fund Fight Aids
Dirk Niebel, Germany’s Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, made the announcement that Germany plans to provide a total of 1 billion euros to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) when he spoke at the World Economic Conference on January 24th. The 1 billion euros will be distributed in the current period of 2012 to 2016.

Germany is already the third largest supporter of the Global Fund. USAID boasts that with more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries,  “Global Fund support has provided 4.2 million people with antiretroviral treatment, detected and treated 9.7 million new cases of infectious tuberculosis, and distributed 310 million insecticide-treated nets to protect families from malaria transmission.”

Germany, USAID, private donors, and the rest of the international community keep striving for new ways to improve and implement life-saving strategies around the globe. It is great news that Germany is willing to step up with a large commitment and hopefully, it will encourage all member nations of the UN to consider following suit and increasing their donations.

– Kevin Sullivan

Source: USAID