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Policy Bill Brieger | 21 Jan 2007 07:56 am

Could Malaria Feature in 2008 US Presidential Race?

While there is much concern now for securing adequate funding levels for US efforts to fight malaria, it is important to look toward future commitments, since malaria is not a disease that will be easily defeated. A quick search has found that several potential candidates for the US Presidency in 2008 have thought about the problem of malaria. Mention of any particular candidate herein does not constitute an endorsement, nor is the selection meant to be representative. The hope is that malaria control advocates can build on potential interest by candidates to heighten action throughout the country to make a malaria free future.

A recent report noted that, Senator “Brownback is laying the foundation for a broadened platform, working to draw attention to problems in Africa, including the violence in Sudan’s Darfur region, human sex trafficking and efforts to fight AIDS and malaria.”

After a visit to malaria-endemic Kenya, “Illinois Senator Barack Obama says Americans should be aware of and support African efforts to control infection disease. “What we want to make sure of is that we’re dealing with these issues [in Africa] before they get out of hand, and then start getting exported to the United States.”

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, shepherded the current administration’s HIV, TB and Malaria efforts and served as chairman of the Global Fund board. His continued commitment to controlling malaria would be extremely likely.

Senator Hillary Clinton stated that, “We have to have greater cooperation, creating new international alliances, treaties and conventions to deal with the challenges and dangers that confront the entire world, whether it be a potential pandemic such as bird flu, the continuing spread of diseases like HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, or so many of the others that we read about on a daily basis.”

Senator John McCain honored Mrs. Laura Bush with these words, “Mrs. Bush has become the face of America’s commitment to the developing world, highlighting our country’s efforts to end pandemic diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS.”

Former Senator John Edwards spoke in London saying, “Along with other countries and the UN, we should be leading the effort to do simple things like buy mosquito nets to protect children from Malaria.”

Bringing an end to the destruction caused by malaria is hopefully something that all candidates can agree upon.

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