White House treats malaria as a global ‘human crisis’

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Some groups contend that the PMI, while welcomed, is not large enough to eradicate the disease by itself. They say more funding should be directed to international groups such as the Global Fund.

“It needs to be balanced by the multilateral side as well,” David Bryden, spokesman for the Global AIDS Alliance (GAA), said of U.S. malaria funding.

The U.S. government has contributed more than $2 billion to the Global Fund since 2001, or about 27 percent of its funding to date, Bush aides say.

Mr. Bryden argues that the administration’s request of $300 million for the Global Fund in fiscal 2008 isn’t enough, saying the government should give $1.3 billion and challenge the rest of the world to increase their contributions.

“They’ve not been smart enough in channeling money that grows the overall pot,” he said.

Mr. Bryden’s group and others, such as the Global Health Council, are lobbying Congress as 2008 funding bills progress on Capitol Hill. He said the House has proposed $850 million for the Global Fund and the Senate has proposed $890 million.

Dr. Paul Zeitz, executive director of GAA, said the Group of Eight leaders’ recent pledge of $60 billion to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis — while welcome — is only one-third of the $192 billion that the United Nations estimates is needed over the next five years.

“This is not an issue of ‘more money is always needed when it comes to poverty,’ ” he said. “Rather, the full amount is needed so that we can actually get ahead of these health crises.”

Spraying pesticides also has been criticized.

WHO stopped actively promoting indoor residual spraying of DDT and other pesticides to control malaria in the 1980s because of heightened concerns about the safety of DDT.

In September, WHO endorsed the spraying of DDT, saying it poses no health risk when used properly.

Some still aren’t convinced.

The Pesticide Action Network North America argues that DDT is “incontrovertibly linked” to health issues, including increased miscarriage and developmental delays in children.

Another challenge is delivering the help to outlying areas with little or no infrastructure.

Exxon Mobil’s Dr. Phillips said that while nets, indoor sprays and drugs are effective in stopping malaria, it takes a highly coordinated effort to make sure these tools make it to the people who need them.

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