UN appoints malaria envoy

Ray Chambers, a successful US businessman and philanthropist, was named the UN special envoy for malaria by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Chambers has been charged with a monumental task – to raise $8-$10 billion dollars for malaria control over the next five years and bring malaria mortality as close to zero as possible.

Such grand, disease-specific goals often raise concerns regarding sustainability and the vertical versus horizontal program debate inevitably arises. It’s an argument I find somewhat artificial. Immediate gains have broader and longer impacts than we realize, and there is a limit (biological and logistical) to decentralizing control measures. Humanitarian aid and the sustainable reduction of transmission must be considered together.

Ultimately, these efforts should strengthen overall health infrastructure so broader gains in preventing child mortality are realized. Godspeed Mr. Chambers. Godspeed.


3 Responses to “UN appoints malaria envoy”

  1. 1 Danika Barry February 21, 2008 at 3:45 am

    Huh, Ray Chambers is an interesting choice– he is the founder of Millennium Promise, the 501(c)3 that handles all the finances for the Millennium Villages.

    I wonder what sort of programs/initiatives the money raised is going to be put into? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    Two related interesting things though:
    1. Sumitomo Chemical is one of Millennium Promise’s partners. They are involved in a 50/50 joint venture, the Olyset Net Company, with A to Z Textile Mills, a Tanzanian company. It is the only WHO-recommended LLIN manufacturer in Africa.
    See the link: http://www.sumivector.com/content/view/89/82/

    2. Speaking of his connections to Millennium Villages/Sachs; I’m curious also of your response to this Jan 31. WHO survey: http://www.who.int/malaria/docs/ReportGFImpactMalaria.pdf

    It talks about the effectiveness (if at least just initially) of nationwide LLIN and ACT distribution programs; resulting in a >50% decline in in-patient malaria cases, and malaria deaths; seen in Ethiopia and Rwanda. These seem to be the type of programs that Sachs advocates for, and is reflected in the Millennium Villages model. I’d like to hear what you have to say– it does by the way, make really clear your point on the need to develop capacity for good surveillance and logistic information systems (they had to make direct field visits for a lot of the data since many of the countries surveyed were lacking this).

    Cool blog!

  2. 2 naman February 22, 2008 at 2:19 am


    I’ve haven’t read the report in great detail but my impressions are as follows – it deals largely with available data only 1 year post-intervention. I think thats simply too short of a follow-up time to draw any strong conclusions. There are no controls provided in terms of other countries or communities within those countries, and thus we could be looking at a decrease due to some confounding factor – like less rainfall. Finally, the results are based partially on convenience samples, populations the researchers had access to, and ones which are not necessarily representative making it difficult to extrapolate. In defense of the authors, it is very difficult to measure impact in an operational environment not designed for doing such research, but that also means they have a responsibility to make the limitations of their conclusions very clear.

    Also, MVP may be using the same interventions – but that does not mean it is the same model – there are some very important differences in terms of scale, partners involved, and capacity building.


  3. 3 Danika Barry February 22, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Yep, yep. Would agree– it seemed like a really preliminary survey; hopefully it will spur some more in-depth further research.


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