Draining the Swamp: Reform for Anti-Malaria Policy

The White House is hosting a summit on malaria this week, and our good friend Roger Bate will be attending. And since Roger has such excellent timing, he also has an op-ed out today assessing the state of anti-malaria efforts and what we can hope for coming out of the summit:

Malaria, an entirely preventable and treatable disease, kills at least a million people yearly, mostly children under age 5 and pregnant women. Prompted by anti-malaria advocates, the U.S. Congress led a series of investigations into USAID’s malaria control programs between September 2004 and January 2006. These hearings found almost no monitoring and evaluation of performance, no ability to account for spending with any meaningful precision, and the promotion of poor public health and clinical practices.

Contractors could decide what information to redact from contracts, so researchers could not ascertain how budgets were spent. Of the money accounted for, most went to general advice-giving programs and consultants seemingly incapable of building sustainable local capacity. Only about 8 percent of its $80 million fiscal 2004 budget was used to purchase actual lifesaving interventions, such as bed nets, insecticides or effective drugs.