Friday, July 08, 2005

What About Malaria?

How many celebrity luvvies need to die of malaria before anyone gives a shit about the millions who die from this disease every year? Unlike with AIDS you average celeb doesn't know anyone who has died from this third world disease. While people with AIDS can live for years with the right drugs, malaria in the third world would be much easier to contain and possibly eradicate. When malaria becomes endemic in an African village mosquitoes continuously infect the populace. If a mother is too sick from malaria to work, her family which may also be suffering and weakened from malaria will go hungry. People can be infected with malaria many times in a year leading to a truly miserable existence. Supplying mosquito nets and insecticides to these people would break the cycle of infection. Nets and insecticide are much cheaper than a life time supply of antiretroviral drugs for an African village. Maybe if one of Elton John or Bono's mates comes a cropper from a mosquito bite instead of high risk sexual behavior we will hear more about it.

It is not that I think the world should ignore AIDS it is just that it would be cheaper to deal with malaria first. Anticapitalists will complain that the only reason we have effective drugs to make AIDS a manageable chronic condition is because rich people get it too. Conversely there is much less money to be made in drugs to treat malaria since it is mainly a third world disease. I believe we should let market forces do their work with a helping had from common sense. Therefore virtually all resources used to combat and treat AIDS in malaria areas should be diverted to the WHO for a program to wipe out malaria. It has already been done with smallpox and success is close with polio.

It's time for luvvies to quit bumming around and get real about untrendy diseases too.


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