PEPFAR Reauthorization Bill To Benefit Malaria Efforts, Experts Say
New funding and provisions included in a bill (HR 5501) to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief would significantly benefit efforts to fight malaria worldwide, experts said last week at a forum in Washington, D.C., CQ HealthBeat reports.
The panel discussion -- hosted by the Christian Children's Fund and the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs -- was one of several events held to mark World Malaria Day on Friday, April 25. During the discussion, a number of directors of nongovernmental organizations working to address malaria discussed experiences and effective strategies for future work to eradicate the disease, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The PEPFAR reauthorization bill authorizes $5 billion over five years for malaria treatment and prevention efforts and codifies the creation of a five-year plan to control the disease. Specific appropriations for malaria were not included in prior PEPFAR legislation, according to CQ HealthBeat.
The majority of NGOs' work on malaria includes community-level efforts to provide education about prevention methods, distribute insecticide-treated nets and develop awareness campaigns. According to some experts, the programs have been effective in reducing malaria cases, while others say they have had little success because the programs are new.
Maurice Middleberg, vice president of public policy for the Global Health Council, noted that House passage of the reauthorization bill is vital to fighting malaria worldwide. Middleberg said that although "funding for malaria efforts doesn't necessarily have to come from PEPFAR ... the size of this appropriation and its malaria-specific strategy is significant."
Tim McCully -- vice president for international programming at Lutheran World Relief, a faith-based organization working to combat malaria with a USAID grant in Tanzania -- said, "When I look at strategies and operation for PEPFAR" and the President's Malaria Initiative, "they have gone out of the way to attract and make funds accessible to smaller organizations with the broader range of programs, but competition for funds is still steep." McCully also discussed the importance of addressing HIV/AIDS and malaria together. According to CQ HealthBeat, some global HIV/AIDS advocates say the PEPFAR reauthorization bill has "strayed too far from its original intent" of addressing the spread of HIV/AIDS by appropriating funds specifically for malaria (CQ HealthBeat, 4/25).