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Commentary

Fighting Malaria—the Right Way
Roger Bate, AEI Online, 1-9-06

Bate has been a vocal and persistent advocate for improving how aid organizations in the U.S. and abroad allocate funding for malaria treatment. In particular, Bate endorses the U.S. Agency for International Development's decision to shift its funding priorities from technical assistance to buying proven interventions against the disease.

The fight against malaria has scored a major victory. The [U.S. AID] has elected to use nearly half of its budget to buy proven interventions against the disease, which affects 500 million people and kills more than a million children around the world each year. USAID has promised $15 million expressly for insecticides, recognizing their unique effectiveness in reducing the burden of malaria. The agency has opted to streamline more funding to fewer countries in order to improve accountability and focus on results.

This announcement follows USAID chief Andrew Natsios' resignation and marks an ideological shift in the agency's approach to malaria control. Since it joined the World Health Organization's global effort to roll back the disease in 1998, it has devoted most of its budget to U.S. consultants whose technical advice emphasized mosquito nets and largely ignored indoor residual spraying. This has proved a losing strategy. Recent estimates of malaria rates show they have increased substantially over the past decade.

Bate challenges international donors to hold themselves accountable for improving outcomes, not simply spending.



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