Launch of the Global Malaria Action Plan

The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) coalition’s Global Malaria Action Plan was released against the backdrop of the world’s mover and shakers at the recent UN meeting. The Plan calls for a worldwide scale-up of key interventions with the goal of saving 4.2 million lives by 2015 and several other milestones beyond that date. Additionally, the action plan hopes to eliminate malaria from a number of countries. The strategy is divided into 3 broad components: scale-up/sustained control, elimination, and research to support both. I am particularly impressed by the prominence accorded to the last component, research, within the strategy. Even more admirable are the three priorities identified within the research plan: research and development for new tools, research to inform policy decisions, and operational and implementation research. Emphasis on the latter two components has been severely lacking and addressing these policy and programmatic challenges will be critical for any success (see previous posts here, and here).

Donors have committed an initial $3 billion towards the actions outlined in the plan. The bulk of the funds were pledged by the World Bank ($1.1 billion) and the Global Fund ($1.6 billion). I believe the total amount includes  $168.7 million from the Gates foundation to fund work on new malaria vaccines. The total cost of the global strategy is estimated to average US$ 5.9 billion per year from 2011 to 2020.

A lesser known fact regarding the Global Malaria Action Plan is that the private firm Boston Consulting Group was brought in to do the bulk of the work. There’s nothing wrong with their involvement – in fact I would credit RBM for allocating priority to the plan and bringing in outside help to develop it rapidly and effectively. However, it begets the question of why an organization housed within the foremost body in international health does not have the internal capacity to develop a global strategy plan?


3 Responses to “Launch of the Global Malaria Action Plan”

  1. 1 Saket September 29, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Good observation. I can’t say that I’m too surprised about why the group brought in BCG (not that I’m qualified to say ANYTHING about the group). But that’s the role these management consulting firms play for all kinds of businesses. These consultants think strategy all the time — and they are armed with the collective experience of interacting with so many kinds of businesses in all kinds of situations. Just like any firm, I’m sure internal politics play an unfortunate role and it seems unlikely to me that an internal strategy team would be immune to such influences. So there’s another advantage of bringing in an outside group.

    But I’m really pleased to see this new push for malaria. Let’s knock it out of the park (for real)

  2. 2 naman September 29, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    great point, it is also an effective way for RBM to avoid arm wrestling, both internally and with all the groups they consulted for the plan’s development.

  3. 3 Gil October 24, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Would it be wrong to have an outsider do the job for RBM? Will it promise success? I all as it will work it is fine. Nowadays business process outsourcing is the trend. End result will give justice to the means. Let’s wait and see.

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