The global fight against malaria is stalled, especially in Africa, because of a decline in health aid, says a new report
Given the impact of malaria on child health and mortality, stopping malaria aid would cost many lives, says the report. Ceedit: Tarique Ali/CSE
Between 2000 and 2014, worldwide malaria deaths were cut in half thanks to scale-up of malaria control efforts. However, a new report on the economics of malaria says that with a decline in health aid and the shift from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals has led to an increase in the number of malaria cases in several countries in 2016.
It is believed that this drop can be sustained and improve life expectancy and economic development, particularly in Africa but unfortunately progress has stalled in the global fight against malaria, adds the report, ‘Money & mosquitoes the economics of malaria in an age of declining aid.’
Down To Earth recently covered how the obsession with outcomes can result in denying funds to many desirable projects. The Word Bank, for instance, has still not delivered the first two tranches of the US $1.5 billion loan it had sanctioned in early 2016 to shore up Swachh Bharat Mission, simply because the government had not put in place, as part of the prerequisites for the loan, an independent third party to verify the outcomes of the programme.
While there are no easy answers to whether cost-effectiveness of a worldwide effort should be the key factor in deciding aid, "given the impact of malaria on child health and mortality, stopping malaria aid would cost many lives,” says the report prepared by the African development Bank Group.
This means that governments should ensure effective surveillance and health systems, integrated vector control programs, and targeted treatment interventions. Priority, hence, should be given to health funding and for domestic resource mobilisation to go beyond aid.
Since Africa has been for decades reliant on international donor funding, African countries will need to reset their relationships, especially in the light of a fragile economy, with international aid agencies and bilateral partners and possibly look more to South–South cooperation and private– public partnerships, suggested the report. Besides, they should also look at greater domestic ownership of health systems and new international aid players.
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