What can science do about malaria?

I just read a fascinating and provocative  blog titled ‘Malaria: Can science cripple development?’ by Bart Knols on the TH!NK3: Developing world website, in which he questions whether academic research science is really helping us to combat malaria. This question is fascinating on many levels – is money on malaria research well-spent? Should a burden be placed on researchers to carry out policy relevant research? Does research on malaria benefit those most in need in low and middle income countries? Are researchers properly rewarded for research ‘on the ground’ in malaria-endemic regions, which may not utilise cutting edge research tools, but none-the-less provides practical outcomes for clinicians, public health specialists and policymakers who need to make decisions today about which tactics will reduce the burden of malaria dieases in their countries?  Bart concludes by saying:

‘Seventy-five years of malaria research has brought us back to where we were in 1935. Tens of thousands of research papers, billions of dollars, and all we have come up with is to fill our knapsack sprayers once again with ‘good-old’ DDT. Is science crippling development?’ And then invites comments. Please go to the site and add your thoughts.

Please note, TH!NK3: Developing world is the third round of the European Journalism Centre’s widely acclaimed international blogging competition series. The participants of TH!NK3 (called “TH!NKers”) are journalism students, academics and experts from 27 EU Member States, neighbourhood countries and beyond. Their objective in TH!NK3 is to write and report about global cooperation and sustainable development in the lead up to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals Review Summit in September 2010.

TH!NK3: Developing World launched on 23 March, 2010 in Brussels will run from 24 March, 2010 to 31 August, 2010.

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