The World Health Organisations (WHO) goal to reduce malaria deaths by 75% by 2015 looks set to fail due to lack of international aid, according to Harvard researchers. An article published this month in the online open access Malaria Journal, states that current funding to fight this killer disease is less than 7% of what is needed.
WHO launched the Roll Back Malaria movement (RBM) in 1998 with the World Bank, UNDP and UNICEF. Its goal was to halve malaria deaths by 2010, and again by 2015. RBM set out to do this through detection and treatment of malaria cases, and preventative measures such as bednets treated with insecticide.
Experts agree that a budget of US $1.5 to US $2 billion dollars is needed each year to ensure the projects success. The Malaria Journal studys authors, Vasant Narasimhan and Amir Attaran, found that current funding from international aid and loans stands at just US $98.9 million annually. This figure has not increased substantially from the year when RBM was launched.
The Malaria Journal study examines the official database of the 23 aid agencies of the worlds richest nations, which compiles all funding commitments. To check the accuracy of these findings, the authors also surveyed all of the donors.
The authors not only conclude that aid and World Bank loans are drastically under what is required, they criticise the bookkeeping of the RBM. Narasimhan and Attaran call for more transparent reporting by donors, and audits by the RBM. The authors also express concerns that what little money is being donated is not being spent in the countries that need it most.
Malaria is second only to HIV/AIDS of the infectious diseases claiming lives globally. 90% of cases occur in Africa where 1 million people die from malaria each year, of which 70% are women and children.