Public Health

Effectiveness of Malaria Program Debated

Got millions in subsidies but didn't track who received drugs, making success difficult to determine

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The future of a pricey malaria program meant to provide cheap drugs for poor patients may be in jeopardy after health officials clashed over its effectiveness in two new reports.

In 2010, the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria was started by groups including United Nations agencies and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It was a pilot project to subsidize artemesinin combination drugs, the most effective malaria treatment.

The initiative cost more than $460 million, mostly funded by the Global Fund, UNITAID, and the Canadian and British governments. It was tested in eight countries: Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. Most of the drugs bought were sold in the private sector, where there are few controls on who gets them.

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