Tangled Webs – getting malaria funding approved

Nothing is straightforward in Washington, though with modern communications technology it is a bit transparent for those willing to dig out the facts.  USA Today reports that, “The Senate Appropriations Committee … is boosting Bush’s $4.2 billion request for the foreign aid bill’s global HIV/AIDS account by $940 million. Lawmakers are adding $590 million to the Bush administration’s request for a global fund to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; that is enough money to almost triple it,” while cutting money from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The reason for the latter move is lack of absorptive capacity – a charge that is often leveled against grant recipients in developing countries.

Ironically the lack of faith in the US contribution to the Millennium goals process comes at a time when the UN warns that anti-poverty targets in Africa will not be met. According to the Guardian, “UN said the world was failing in the battle to combat hunger, cut infant mortality and put every child in school.” Likewise Reuters reports that, “Sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest corner of the world, has struggled to keep up with other regions, the report said, noting urgent needs in its fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, as well as basic medical care and education.”

The MCC recently awarded “Mozambique’s five-year $506.9 million Millennium Challenge Compact aims to reduce poverty levels through increased incomes and employment by improving water, sanitation, roads, land tenure, and agriculture. This program is expected to benefit approximately five million Mozambicans by 2015.”  This package should compliment  efforts by the President’s Malaria Initiative in Mozambique, for example as “improved water systems, wastewater disposal, and storm water drainage” may help control mosquito breeding.

While we certainly do not advocate funding agencies that cannot spend money in a wise and timely manner, we do encourage the viewpoint that sees malaria control as part of a wider health and development effort.

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