26 April 2006

World Bank Accusations

Finally, an article in a medical journal that directly addresses a worldwide medical problem --- malaria.

A group of public health doctors led by Amir Attaran, a professor at the Institute of Population Health and faculty of Law of Ottawa University, has recently hurled the following accusations against the World Bank:
  • In the past 5 years, the Bank has failed to uphold a pledge to increase funding for malaria control in Africa,

  • has claimed success in its malaria programmes by promulgating false epidemiological statistics, and...

  • has approved clinically obsolete treatments for a potentially deadly form of malaria.

The group also recommended and argued strongly in their paper that the World Bank "should relinquish its funding to other agencies better placed to control the disease."

If you're a registered LANCET user, you can access the full text of their paper here. Otherwise, you can read news reports here and here.

I have long believed that people engaged in business and banking have little or no business taking care of medical/health problems. The respective orientations are simply different. Is there a good doctor taking care of the malaria program inside the WB? There should be. The lack of a good doctor might explain why a "wrong medicine" like chloroquine was continuously provided to a setting where resistant P. falciparum was the prevailing malarial infection present. Banking executives shouldn't be left to decide what the best medical decisions would be in a scenario like this. It's simply not their cup of tea.
"Yet despite these abundant warnings, the (World)Bank supplied India with chloroquine knowing the drug would be used for P falciparum malaria. In 2004, the Bank approved five separate purchases of chloroquine for India, totalling about $1.8 million. The quantities of chloroquine involved exceed 100 million tablets, making it probable that millions of patients having P falciparum malaria received such treatments inappropriately. Both money and lives are needlessly wasted by these decisions, which violate WHO's guidance."

-- excerpt from the original LANCET article

5 reactions:

ipanema said...

If allegations of malaria programme in India are true, then it can be compared to watching people die in your hands. Those 3 places mentioned from India's northernmost desert province are some of the poorest, if not the poorest and giving them chloroquine is tantamount to giving poison, watching them die slowly.

Whereas some parts of Africa, like Kenya will phase out the use of sulphur-based antimalaria drugs in favour of the more effective artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) because the disease was becoming increasingly resistant to the other
according to a news item in UN-OCHA IRIN.

According to WHO,malaria threatens approximately 2 billion to 3 billion people annually, or roughly 40 percent of the world’s population, and inflicts approximately 500 million clinical attacks each year. Most infections and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

Let me share the transcript of the interview with
Amir Attaran.

bayibhyap said...


after such an insightful and impactful first comment on the post, i feel so inadequate about posting my two-cent worth of thoughts! LOL.

anyway, i had malaria when i was a kid and it was a real torture. you feel cold all of a sudden on a hot day and when that happened, i had to cover myself with a blanket, much to the surprise and astonishment of my mother. I was fortunate to recover.

ipanema said...

It just so happen that I have materials so to speak. And I want to share it. Don't belittle your post. It's a first hand account and how many of us can really admit personal things and type it out for the world to read? I commend brave and honest people.

Am glad that you've recovered, but how did you 'catch' it (is that the right word?).

You've got my name right this time. >>Ipanema beri awak teh tarik dan kuih kerana awak telah menulis nama saya dengan betul. :)

bayibhyap said...

Teh tarik, eh? Ah...this is yet another beverage that I wanted Dr Emer and Jane to taste but unfortunately the time we had was limited. I'll wait for their next trip. :)

The sentence would sound better if you say, "Saya belanja... (meaning "pay for" or "treat"). On the whole, it's a commendable effort. I am impressed! :)

ipanema said...

I didn't see this post until now. belanja? aiyah, next time lah, ok?

teh tarik, all those curry stuff would be nice to introduce to visitors.

bahasa malaysia is a bit different from bahasa melayu i am used to.

anyway, before this turns out to be a language class, thanks.