Put an end to risky malaria program
Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria is a dangerous distraction from effective public health measures
A program designed as a “silver bullet” to fight malaria could actually be endangering lives, says Oxfam, because medicines are being distributed by unqualified shopkeepers and hawkers rather than trained health workers.
In a new report, Salt, Sugar and Malaria Pills, published today, the international agency says the Affordable Medicine Facility for malaria (AMFm) has shown no concrete evidence that it has been effective at saving the lives of the most vulnerable, or in delaying drug resistance. Despite backing by the Global Fund, Oxfam believes the AMFm, which is currently being piloted in seven countries, is skewing investment away from more effective solutions.
Dr. Mohga Kamal Yanni, Oxfam’s senior health policy advisor, said: “It is dangerous to put the lives of sick children in the hands of a shopkeeper with no medical training and to pursue a program that doesn’t help those people who need it the most.”
High risk of misdiagnosis
The AMFm was created to tackle malaria by subsidizing the cost of Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT), currently the most effective anti-malarial treatment, and promoting their sale through the private sector. But using untrained and unsupervised drug sellers poses a very high risk of misdiagnosis, given that malaria incidence is decreasing and therefore fevers are likely to be due to other causes. Some studies show that 60 per cent of fevers are not malarial.
Kamal Yanni said: “A shopkeeper selling salt, pepper and malaria medicines cannot diagnose or treat a child with pneumonia."
A recent evaluation described the AMFm as a ‘game changer’ that had increased availability and market share and decreased price, but gave no evidence of how many confirmed cases of malaria had been treated. It failed to concretely measure whether medicines were reaching the most vulnerable populations, like children living in poor and remote areas, and it ignored evidence from countries like Ethiopia where malaria deaths have halved in the last three years thanks to investment in community health workers.
“A dangerous distraction”
The AMFm has also caused excessive orders of ACT based on commercial interest rather than clinical needs. In Zanzibar, for example, the private sector ordered 150,000 treatments, in a country where less than 2,500 cases of malaria were reported in a year.
Oxfam is calling for the AMFm to be brought to an end at the Board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on November 14th & 15th.
Kamal Yanni said: “There is no cheap option or short cut to combat malaria. The AMFm is a dangerous distraction from genuine solutions like investing in community health workers, who have slashed the number of malarial deaths in countries such as Zambia and Ethiopia. The Global Fund board must act on the evidence and put a stop to the AMFm now.”
Join Oxfam's campaign: Health and Education for all
Sarah Dransfield, Oxfam Press Officer:
- +44 1865 472269 (landline)
- +44 7767 085636 (mobile)
- Email: email@example.com
Our Health & Education For All Blog
RT @revenuewatch: New @Oxfam post explains what works in the fight against #corruption! http://t.co/1nF9FWykjL via @fp2p11 hours 19 min ago
RT @MeatFreeMonday: The Canadian city of Vancouver will be supporting Meat Free Monday on 10 June! http://t.co/zQ2tfrDX8y13 hours 5 min ago
RT @OxfamAmerica: "I went to Haiti too…" @intldogooder reacts to Nora Schenkel's @NYTimes Op-Ed about #aid in #Haiti: http://t.co/gaCC9xKWWe13 hours 12 min ago
#Syria's #refugees face dire health risks due to lack of shelter, water, basic sanitation http://t.co/s2WBOxn7dI #SyriaCrisis14 hours 57 min ago
16 hours 18 min ago
#Mali emerges as most fragile country in Africa's Sahel region. Displacement & humanitarian funding totals http://t.co/Ro3q9jLKnq @reliefweb16 hours 58 min ago
We’ve come a long way baby… or have we? The 7 #Women's Empowerment Principles http://t.co/g0kFCHOPeD #BehindTheBrands @UN_Women17 hours 37 min ago
Almost 7M people are in need. Life in #Syria's conflict zone: photos http://t.co/ayQ4TgH8wL #SyriaCrisis19 hours 52 min ago
Oxfam warns of health risks to #Syria #refugees as summer approaches http://t.co/hyO0oLc3OW Pls support our #SyriaCrisis appeal20 hours 20 min ago
+80 countries pledged aid at last wk's #MaliConference, including an add'l $32M from the US http://t.co/WCukv0SV7x21 hours 7 min ago
Thx for speaking up for women: @MarsGlobal,#Mondelez & @Nestle have now moved from words 2 action http://t.co/laFtaWajFI #BehindTheBrands3 days 10 hours ago
UN agency and Slow Food group partner to boost livelihoods of small farmers http://t.co/l0YMT9yyk8 @SlowFoodHQ3 days 16 hours ago
RT @oxfamgbpress: Oxfam very relieved that Cyclone #Mahasen did not cause damage to vulnerable communities in Myanmar http://t.co/t2VwONPjs03 days 16 hours ago
RT @annamac33: The #ArmsTreaty can create a safer future for millions. Urge the US to sign! http://t.co/HRlNC8BcO33 days 17 hours ago
#FF Oxfam Global Ambassadors @KristinDavis @GaelGarciaB @driverminnie @liviafirth @baabamaal @HelenLMirren @BoseOfficial3 days 17 hours ago