2 Seattle groups targeting malaria
Two Seattle organizations are at the center of a major new effort to control and treat malaria in Africa, especially in children. Financed by a nine-year...
Seattle Times medical reporter
Two Seattle organizations are at the center of a major new effort to control and treat malaria in Africa, especially in children.
Financed by a nine-year, $35 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a new partnership of government and health organizations will use existing technology to attack the mosquito-borne disease that kills nearly 1 million people a year in Africa, mostly young children.
The new program will begin soon in Zambia, officials announced yesterday at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
PATH, a Seattle-based organization focused on international health, was instrumental in initiating the partnership and will help facilitate more extensive use of proven technologies. Those include insecticide-treated bed nets, spraying inside walls with insecticide and a drug combination that kills the malaria parasite.
Scientists are working on a vaccine, but it is still years away, experts say.
"This is about trying to save an awful lot of children. It's less about science and more about management. ... It's a story of how government will turn money into death reduction," said Dr. Carlos (Kent) Campbell, director of the project for PATH, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health.
Called the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA), the project is a collaboration of PATH, the government of Zambia and the Zambia Roll Back Malaria program.
Global partners for the project are the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Within three years, organizers hope to extend the control and treatment measures to 80 percent of the Zambian population and reduce malaria deaths by 75 percent. They also hope to set an example for the many countries that have grown to accept malaria as a way of life.
"We hope this will be a pull to other countries who will say, if my neighbor can do this, maybe it's not impossible," said Campbell, former malaria program chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a significant figure in the formation of the new partnership.
Malaria kills about 50,000 children younger than 5 each year in Zambia, according to PATH. Young children are especially vulnerable to the disease, which causes low birth weight, severe anemia, epilepsy and neurological problems.
Warren King: 206-464-2247 or email@example.com
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