Following the bold announcement of Bill and Melinda Gates’ goal of eliminating malaria at the Gates Malaria Forum in Seattle, there was a follow up speech talking about the costs of this task.
Wendy Woods, Partner and Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group, presented a study stating that it will cost seven billion dollars a year to get a handle of this disease. You could see the air leave the bodies of the 250 malaria researchers, advocates and scientists leaders sitting in the room. Currently the world wide spend on malaria is two billion dollars a year.
After the seven billion speech, the next major town hall meeting was appropriately titled, “Overcoming Challenges.” This talk was led by the premier leaders in different aspects of the malaria world.
All of these leaders continually pushed the words collaboration and focus. Admiral Timothy Ziemer, Coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, weighed in that this goal is achievable but reminded us, “The goal of this is not good partnership, it is to lick malaria.”
There were breakout sessions for specific sectors such as supply chain, mapping, clinical trials, financing mechanisms and others. All of which seemed to have a new focus and a new goal since the word elimination was utilized.
Abdi D. Mohamed, Country Coordinator, PATH Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa seemed to sum up everyone’s enthusiasm, “You need to think big to achieve what you are reaching for – but if you fail – look at how far you will have come.”