Malaria prevention funding is questioned

April 14, 2008 at 12:38 PM
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 14 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists are questioning how millions of dollars dedicated to malaria prevention are being spent since annual deaths from the disease are increasing.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham initiated the study to determine why the annual rate of malaria is climbing despite more than $220 million annually dedicated to its treatment and prevention.

. The scientists, led by Professor Robert Novak and Ephantus Muturi, discovered the money is being spent to address the mortality of pregnant women and infants while the disease has burgeoned among teenagers and adults. The researchers said organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization lead in funding, but little money helps identify and address environmental factors that contribute to the growth and spread of the disease.

"We need to address three issues -- vectors, parasites, and protect the human host -- in an integrated fashion," Novak said. He explained that by working with environmental and epidemiological information that is already available, researchers can determine where malaria mosquito populations are most concentrated and then design a control program with the right preventive methods.

The study appears in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

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