How difficult would it be to give Africans hope against malaria?

April 6, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More

Not very difficult, according to Jeffrey Sachs. 

Hard as it is for us to imagine, Africa’s households simply can’t afford even $10 for a net, or a dollar for medicines when a child falls sick. Nor can African governments carry these costs on meager budgets or take extra vital steps to train local health workers and ensure that every village has reliable access to effective medicines.

Here is where you and I come in. Considering the costs of the nets, medicines and other components of malaria control, a comprehensive program would cost about $4.50 per African at risk, or about $3 billion a year for the whole continent. This is an amount that is too large for Africa but truly tiny for the rich world.

Let me put the $3 billion in perspective: there are a billion of us in the high-income world–that amounts to $3 a person, or one Starbucks coffee a year. It’s around 12.5% of the estimated $24 billion in Wall Street’s Christmas bonuses.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University.

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Category: Health, Medicine

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

    "Each year 350–500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, and over one million people die, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

    In areas of Africa with high malaria transmission, an estimated 990,000 people died of malaria in 1995 – over 2700 deaths per day, or 2 deaths per minute."

    In other words, malaria kills about the same number of humans (mostly children) *every day* as died in the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. I wonder how many lives the so-called "pro-life" Bush Administration might have saved if it had spent the Iraq budget eradicating malaria instead of flushing it down the Baghdad black hole.

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