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The Malaria Challenge: Do we shoot for “E”?

As I was watching the Gates Malaria Forum's "Town Hall" yesterday evening (entire day's webcast), I was struck by an anecdote told by Brian Greenwood, Professor at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine:

When Sir Ian McGregor was working in the Gambia, of the children who came to the clinic there with malaria, 80% had a positive blood film; 10 years ago it was 40% of those that had clinical malaria had a positive blood film; last year it was 4 percent.

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Bill and Melinda Gates: Let’s chart path to eradicate malaria

by Amy DiElsi

Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, opened the Gates Malaria Forum in Seattle this morning with a call to embrace the effort to eradicate malaria. While many have been cautious to declare full eradication of the disease as the ultimate goal, Melinda urged the scientists, researchers, and advocates in the room to join Gates in this new endeavor in order to limit the human and financial costs and to ensure that we don't allow the malaria parasite to continue to adapt to new preventions and treatments. Melinda talked about her past trip to Zambia where she met a young girl sick with malaria. The girl and her family were waiting for an ambulance to take her to get the care she needed to survive. She doesn't know if the young girl made it to the hospital in time. Melinda said, "No child should die of malaria in today's world." She added, "Any goal short of eradicating malaria is accepting malaria." More

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Libya on the Security Council

Texas Fred and Rob from Say Anything are up in arms about Libya's new seat on the Security Council. Says Texas Fred: "Classic case of the UN once again allowing the foxes to guard the hen-house. This sort of thing happens over and over again within the UN and the Us [sic] does nothing to prevent it. It's as though the US approves of this sort of insane behavior." Thing is, the United States did approve of -- or at least not oppose -- Libya's run for a Security Council seat. (In contrast, recall the debate over Venezuela's run last year.) This, in part, can be considered a reward for Libya's good behavior. After having renounced terrorism and abandoning its nuclear program Libya is no longer the international pariah it once was. Furthermore, Tripoli is starting to play a more constructive regional role than it has in the past. Later this month, it will host a major Darfur peace conference, where it is hoped Tripoli will exert pressure on certain rebel groups to bring them to the table. Lockerbie families are understandably upset. But if the point of international relations is to change the behavior of a regime, and not necessarily who runs it, then policy vis-a vis Libya is making great strides. Finally, from the perspective of Security Council dynamics, there is no reason to think that Libya will be anymore or anyless accommodating to American interests than Qatar, the country it replaced. (Last summer, the United States vetoed and anti-Israeli resolution sponsored by Qatar, and Qatar routinely voted opposite the United States in measures relating to Sudan.) Frankly, having Libya on the Security Council at a time when Tripoli is assuming the role of regional arbitrator of the Darfur conflict can provide a needed boon to diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.
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UNHCR launches HIV/AIDS awareness project in Nepal

The United Nations refugee agency has launched a project in Nepal to increase HIV and AIDS services among conflict-affected populations. Mr. Abraham Abraham, UNHCR Representative in Nepal, said, "This new programme is a result of a joint UN assessment undertaken in November 2006 in Banke, Ilam and Kathmandu, and I am confident that together with these NGO partners, we can better respond with respect to the protection and prevention of HIV/AIDS." More
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Dangers on the Ground

On the heels of World Food Day, highlighting the "inherent human right of every woman, man, girl and boy, wherever they live on this planet" to food, comes news that the head of the World Food Program in Somalia, Idris Osman, has been abducted by government troops, in turn highlighting the danger that UN workers on the ground endure in an attempt to guarantee that right. (You'll no doubt remember that earlier this month, 10 UN peacekeepers were killed in Sudan.) In Somalia WFP workers also have had to deal with a festering insurgency lead by the Union of Islamic Courts and clan-based militias and piracy off the horn of Africa that threatens 80 percent of aid delivery. Despite those difficulties, WFP workers had been engaged in a campaign to deliver aid to 2 million Somalis (that work has been temporarily suspended due to this abduction).

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Malaria Woodstock

by Elizabeth McKee Gore

In Seattle today, 250 leaders in the malaria space interacted at the first ever Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Malaria Forum. Leadership from vaccine research, drug research, vector control, social mobilization and advocacy were convened by the Gates Foundation to share successes, ideas and frustrations in the road towards a significant reduction in malaria morbidity and mortality. Regina Rabinovich, Director of Infectious Diseases Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, opened the forum with a focus on great opportunity to build on progress and an elusive tool called momentum. The theme of the Forum is Collaboration, Innovation, and Impact. It is certainly innovative to have researchers, scientists, development workers, fundraisers and advocates engaged in the same conversations.