Some very good news to round out the week comes courtesy of a World Health Organization report: in just the first twelve years of this century, the death rate from malaria among children under five has been reduced by 51 percent, falling below half a million for the very first time. Martin Edlund, the CEO of the anti-Malaria organization Malaria No More, credits US initiatives under the leadership of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for helping drive the surge in global effort to combat the disease that has claimed so many lives for so many centuries.Edlund points to the mass production of three major technological innovations driving success:
The first is a rapid diagnostic test, or RDT. […] This simple, 50-cent device tells you in a matter of minutes with 99% accuracy if you have the malaria parasite in your body. There are now 200 million of these tests deployed in Africa each year, and they’re transforming the fight against malaria — driving timely treatment and ensuring people who have other illnesses — such as pneumonia or respiratory infection — get the lifesaving care they need.The second tool is malaria treatment: artemisinin-based combination therapies, or ACTs. It costs less than $1 to deliver a full course of lifesaving treatment to a child in Africa. And the simple fact is: If a child with malaria gets this $1 worth of medicine in time, he or she will not die. At Malaria No More, we’re helping to close the testing and treatment gaps in Africa through our new Power of One campaign, where every dollar provides a lifesaving test and treatment.The third tool may surprise you: a mobile phone. There’s a mobile revolution under way in Africa. By 2015, there’ll be more than 1 billion mobile phones on the continent. They’re not only transforming communication and commerce but also how we fight communicable disease.
We’ve found a way to mass produce life-saving technological innovations at very affordable prices, making continent-wide distribution to millions of individuals in need a reality. US leadership in the global capitalist system is still doing a lot of good in the world.