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Archived Comments for: Roll Back Malaria? The scarcity of international aid for malaria control

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  1. Roll Back Malaria? The scarcity of international aid for malaria control. A comment from WHO and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Secretariat.

    DAVID ALNWICK, World Health Organization

    9 May 2003

    We agree with the basic conclusion of the study, that overall ODA for malaria control remains extremely low, and incommensurate with the magnitude of the disease. However, our own analysis, to be published shortly in a joint WHO-UNICEF Report entitled ‘Africa Malaria Report – 2003’, is considerably more optimistic than that of Dr Narasimhan and colleagues. A review performed by the World Bank for this report found that international spending for malaria has increased at least twofold since 1998, not including funds used to finance complementary primary health services such as IMCI and reproductive health care. In 2002, approximately $200 million was earmarked for malaria control worldwide, compared with an estimated $60 million in 1998. Through the work of national and international RBM partners, the renewed importance of malaria is reflected in the development of country strategic plans, the recognition of malaria control actions as a global public good, and the prioritization of malaria in Health Sector Wide Approaches and in other development initiatives, such as the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

    Thanks partly to the efforts of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, malaria is a disease included in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and that fund has allocated $256 million for two year period to 26 African countries to tackle malaria.

    The Roll Back Malaria movement was founded on the premise that a concern for malaria should be included in all health development efforts, and that as far as possible malaria control would not be established as a stand alone or vertical programme. This makes accurate reporting of aid flows for malaria extremely difficult, as some of the respondents to the survey conducted by Narasimhan and colleagues noted in their responses to that survey. A more effective approach is to monitor overall aid flows and domestic funding for health priorities in developing countries and to strengthen the monitoring of coverage of malaria relevant interventions and their impact. Work is underway, for example, in many countries to establish national health accounts which combine reporting of national and external funds. Insisting that health donors account for spend by specific disease risks undermining the hard work done over the last decade in encouraging donors to make untied budget and sector wide support for health, and encouraging developing countries to establish their own priorities, based on evidence of disease burden.

    David Alnwick, MSc, Director, Malaria Control Department, WHO, Geneva

    Fatoumata Nafo, M.D, Executive Secretary, Roll Back Malaria Partnership Secretariat, WHO, Geneva.

    Competing interests

    None declared