Investigate Concerns Over Malaria Treatment Program

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Target: Gabriel Jaramillo, General Manager at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria

Goal: Investigate claims that new international malaria reduction scheme harms most vulnerable more than it helps

The international anti-poverty organization Oxfam has recently expressed concerns over a new international program aimed at treating malaria in developing countries. The program, the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria (AMFm), was introduced by the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB, and Malaria as a global subsidy to encourage the private sector to provide necessary medications to harder-to-reach areas of the globe. Yet Oxfam worries that, while millions of dollars are funneled into a program that has not yet been met with demonstrated success, the most vulnerable of the world will suffer. Encourage the Global Fund to continue conducting independent investigations to get to the truth of the matter and protect the sick of the world.

Malaria affects over 200 million people each year, claiming the lives of more than 655,000, most of whom are children. In the face of such a global disease, efforts at alleviating suffering—especially for the poor and the young—should be applauded. The Global Fund’s hope is that private sector drug retailers, aided by global subsidies, will provide more remote communities with greater access to combination therapy for malaria. One aim of the program is to lower the usage of older treatments that have a higher rate of resistance in patients. These efforts have already received financial support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the Canadian government, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

But when the health of so many of the world’s citizens is at risk, there is a special responsibility to investigate every aspect of the program from multiple perspectives. Oxfam’s senior health policy advisor, Dr. Mohga Kamal Yanni, fears that AMFm puts people at too high a risk, especially children. The program distracts global attention from empowering and training healthcare professionals in developing countries and providing them with better access to remote communities. Instead, the care of the sick is put in the hands of non-medical professionals, what Oxfam terms an impossible short cut. Instead, Oxfam points to the drastic cut in fatal cases of malaria in countries like Zambia and Ethiopia as a result of investments made in community health workers.

Any cause for concern must be further investigated. Call on the Global Fund to ensure that the AMFm will in fact aid the sick of the world and not bring them to more harm.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Jaramillo,

I write to express my concern over the Global Fund’s program to fight malaria, the Affordable Medicines Facility (AMFm). Recently, Dr. Mohga Kamal Yanni, senior health policy advisor at Oxfam, expressed doubts over the program’s effectiveness, going so far as to say it endangered children. Dr. Yanni noted that the AMFm might distract global attention and resources from training new health workers, a proven, grassroots method of fighting malaria in remote communities. In addition, there is a legitimate concern over entrusting the medical needs of the world’s most vulnerable citizens to non-medical professionals.

I do want to thank you and your organization for the work you do to fight diseases such as malaria. With over 655,000 malaria-related deaths a year—most of whom are children—this is clearly a devastating disease. But I do want to reiterate the importance of ensuring the effectiveness of your program. If there are any doubts, they must be relieved because of the lives at risk.

I appreciate your attention to this important issue.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Gamma Man via Flickr

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