Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Drug Shortage Spurs Malaria Fears In Africa Topic On Paltalk


A shortage of drugs is causing concern that malaria will spread in Kenya. There is also concern about a short supply of TB drugs in the African nation.

Kenyan health officials say the supply of drugs is expected to run out by September.

Malaria is the number one killer of children under the age of five in Kenya. In all, some 16,000 people die there from malaria each year.

At issue is a rift between the government and the Global Fund, which supplies funds for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, over the alleged mismanagement of donated money. The current Kenyan government is denying complicity in the misappropriation of money. To date, the Global Fund has committed nearly $15 billion in 140 nations to support large scale prevention, treatment and care programs against the three diseases.

Another problem is that researchers in the UK have discovered that mosquitoes have developed a resistance to pesticides that have been used against them.

Meanwhile, charities are seeing a decrease in the amount of donations due to a downturn in the economy. Enter the group Hedge Funds Against Malaria, founded by Lance Laifer, a hedge fund manager and a member of Paltalk's board of directors.

After learning that more than 1 million people die from malaria annually, Laifer organized experts on the disease in America and began a program that encourages hedge funds to donate money to help eradicate the problem.

Laifer, a previous guest on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com, has raised money to purchase bed netting, to protect children in malaria prone regions of Africa against disease-carrying mosquitoes.

More recently he has organized a group called One Million Faces Against Malaria on Facebook. The idea is to get 1 million people to join and add their photos to the group to demonstrate the number of people who die every year from this preventable disease.

Joining us on Tuesday March 3 on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com to discuss the ongoing fight against malaria is Richard Tren, director of Africa Fighting Malaria,
a non-profit health advocacy group founded in 2000 and based in South Africa and the United States and on whose board Laifer sits.

AFM's mission is to make malaria control more transparent, responsive and effective. the organization conducts research into the social and economic aspects of malaria and raise the profile of the disease and the issues surrounding its control in the local and international media.

AFM strives to hold public institutions accountable for funding and implementing effective, integrated and country-driven malaria control policies and to promote successful private sector initiatives to control the disease.

Tren has been AFM's director since its inception in 2000 and in 2006 was appointed as the chairman of the AFM board. Born in South Africa, Tren now works in AFM's Washington, DC office. He has published widely on the political economy of malaria control as well as on other topics of health care and development.

To talk to Tren on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com at 5 PM New York time Tuesday March 3 CLICK HERE.

Paltalk is the largest multimedia interactive program on the Internet with more than 4 million unique users.

News Talk Online is also syndicated by CRN Digital Talk Radio to an additional 12 million households.

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