Since 2000, billions of dollars have been spent on a massive and multipronged anti-malaria effort supported by the World Health Organization, groups like Nothing But Nets, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and other organizations. As a result, WHO says, malaria mortality has fallen by about 50 percent globally in the past 15 years.
But how certain are we of this success story, and what’s really driving it? Is it the hundreds of millions of bednets?
“That’s the million dollar question,” said Moses Kamya, speaking recently at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle.
Kamya is a professor of medicine at Makerere University in Uganda. He presented an unpublished study showing persistently high transmission and increasing incidence of malaria in rural Uganda despite universal bednet coverage and effective anti-malaria treatment.
Kamya findings suggest that some experts are quietly, sometimes reluctantly, beginning to dig deeper into the assumption that bednets are as effective as claimed.