Africa must stop looking to the West for malaria funding

Ochieng' Ogodo

Ochieng’ Ogodo
Sub-Saharan Africa regional news editor, SciDev.Net

Africa should stop continually looking to the West for funding to deal with the malaria menace. The solution could be discovered from within if a few rich Africans would turn to philanthropy and team up with governments that currently do little, to build strong partnerships at home, a South African researcher said today.

“The question today is what are African governments and the rich individuals in the continent doing to build partnerships that could have far-reaching positive implications in the fight against malaria,” said Kelly Chibale of the Department of Chemistry and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

He said African research institutions should not always hold out begging bowls for money from organisations in the West, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Africa must investigate smart technologies to fight malaria. Credit: Flickr/US Army Africa

But it is not just research funding that is needed. There’s also the need to create capacity and use smart science to defeat the age-old disesase.

“There are technology gaps that need to be fixed to enable Africa focus on different strategies in the fight against malaria,” he said.

Chibale who is currently working together with a team of researchers on a single dose  drug candidate for malaria, said the road to drug discovery was long and expensive and Africa needed to investigate smart technologies such as those that use computer models to explore the response of the human body to a drug, to get a hit.

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