I’ve been thinking for the last few days about a blog post that Brennan Gamwell, one of our interns, wrote last week on the Full Spectrum Blog. He wrote, “An estimated 250 million people are infected with malaria each year, and nearly one million die. The toll of the disease is most notable in Sub-Saharan Africa, where between two and four percent of individuals are infected, and where the mortality rate climbs even higher due to a substantial number of co-infections with HIV/AIDS.”
I wanted to expand on that because it contains an interesting fact, and leaves us with something to ponder. And that is, if we could improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TB and malaria, some estimate that we could potentially reduce the number of people dying with AIDS by about half. In 2008, two million people died with AIDS. That means that about two million people who died in 2008 and 2009 would be alive today, including many children in the developing world.
TB and malaria are both preventable and curable conditions, and we have made enormous strides in malaria prevention and treatment. But much more needs to be done. ONE, the global grassroots advocacy organization characterizes the challenge: ”While the world has battled malaria and TB for centuries, the immense human toll of AIDS in the late 1990s injected a new urgency into the need to enhance prevention and treatment efforts. Though the resources to fight these diseases have increased exponentially in recent years, funding remains too little and too slow in coming. Moreover, weak health systems have limited success in the fight against these diseases, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.” (more…)