Opinion: Time is not on our side – FT.com

To counter this threat, scientists are in a race against time to develop and test a new generation of antimalarial drugs. Simultaneously, a coalition of public health organisations, led by WHO, is mounting an aggressive international effort to contain and kill the resistant form of the parasite before it spreads more widely. Fortunately, our the existing drugs are still extremely effective, including in those areas where resistance has been detected, but it is important to act now.In addition to these challenges, a tremendous amount of work will be needed on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa to educate people about where to go first for effective care, ensure that all treatment providers are dispensing the right drugs, promote the proper and consistent use of nets, and ensure the widespread use of rapid diagnostic tests before treatment. As malaria deaths decline, tracking and surveillance become increasingly important as we cannot defeat malaria if we do not know where it is. WHO will, this world malaria day, will unveil an important Test, Treat, Track initiative to this end.The international public health community is well organised and prepared to respond quickly and effectively to these challenges. The crucial task now is to mobilise the essential political will to provide the necessary funds to continue rolling out our existing tools and investing in new ones to stay one step ahead of the disease. With adequate funding in hand, it will be within our reach to meet the UN secretary-general’s historic goal of driving down the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa to near zero by the end of 2015.The writer is the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for malaria

via Opinion: Time is not on our side – FT.com.

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