More children die of malaria-a preventable disease-than HIV/AIDS. But former venture capitalist Ray Chambers, the U.N. secretary-general's special envoy for malaria, is hoping to change that by 2010.\rGOOD: Where are we in the eradication of malaria?\r\rRay Chambers: On September 25, the United Nations ..\n
More children die of malaria-a preventable disease-than HIV/AIDS. But former venture capitalist Ray Chambers, the U.N. secretary-general's special envoy for malaria, is hoping to change that by 2010.GOOD: Where are we in the eradication of malaria?Ray Chambers: On September 25, the United Nations announced $3.2 billion in new funding to cover all 600 million people at risk of malaria with bed nets and medication by December 31, 2010. It's now within our reach; we announced that we expect to see zero deaths from malaria by 2015. G: Why did you decide to tackle malaria?RC: It is a disease that has killed 50 million children-a million just last year-all preventable, mainly by a simple $10 insecticide-treated mosquito net. I view it as genocide of apathy. It costs the continent of Africa more than $50 billion a year. In any number of countries on any given day, one out of four members of the workforce is absent because of malaria. And if you're a child under 5, and you get bitten by a malarious mosquito, you must get the right medicine within 30 hours or you're dead. So, in a country like Liberia or Sierra Leone, one out of four children dies from malaria by the age of 5. And all of this is preventable. G: Does this effort lack traction and accountability?RC: Part of what the secretary-general has charged me with is to make sure that we're properly evaluating and monitoring our investment. And with my background in the business world, [with] everything I've done I've tried to measure the return on investment. So, here we're looking at $50 billion a year that this disease is costing Africa. Over the next two-plus years, to get the disease under control, we're going to need between 2 and 3 billion a year. So, let's say it's a $6-billion investment through the end of 2010. Wouldn't you make an investment every day if you could invest $6 billion and get a $50-billion return annually?G: Are you optimistic about where we are as a planet, and as a species?RC: I'm always optimistic. But, clearly, we've been headed in the wrong direction. If the trend we've been on for the last number of decades continues, I don't think we'll make it. So, there has to be some really conscious, intentional, sacrificial efforts employed across the globe for us to turn things around.
NOW WHAT Join the fight to help fight malaria. You can get involved with the Global Fund at globalfund.org, or at some other malaria-related charities like Malaria No More (a Choose GOOD Partner) or Nothing But Nets.