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Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist, is live blogging his trip to Senegal with Malaria No More.

In Malaria on February 21, 2011 at 6:20 am

Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, is live blogging his trip to Senegal with Malaria No More.

Arrived early this morning in Dakar, Senegal on a short trip with the good folks at Malaria No More. I’ve only been to Senegal once before, in 2005, but it is obvious how much as changed.

Our first briefing was with the USAID experts who implement the President’s Malaria Initiative, announced by the Bush administration in the run up to the 2005 Gleneagles G8. The PMI team reported that Senegal has seen a 30 percent decline in infant mortality from all causes between 2005 and 2008 –- and that one major reason has been progress against malaria.

Senegal is conducting this fight aggressively. With strong support from PMI and the Global Fund, Senegal was the first African country to introduce routine rapid tests, which make the diagnosis of malaria quicker (now taking about 10 minutes) and more accurate. It was the first African country to move toward the goal of universal bed net coverage, which it hopes to reach by the end of this year.

Defeating malaria –- one of the main killers of children in Africa -– is not a mystery. It requires the broad distribution and consistent use of insecticide treated bed nets, along with indoor residual spraying and treatment with effective combination drugs. It is a matter of will and resources.

Can’t wait to get out into the field over the next few days to see how PMI is being implemented.


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