I am not sure if at all you are familiar with TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, with its motto 'Ideas worth spreading'. I love to watch these talks, they inspire me, provide energy, and are often fun to watch.
Yesterday I watched the talk by Margaret Heffernan with the title 'Dare to disagree'. This is a very interesting talk and it made me think of the world of malaria. First, have a look at what she has to say...
After you watched this talk, please consider the following points, where I dare to disagree with the way we are moving forward in the battle against malaria:
1) Unless we tackle the issue of counterfeit drugs, we are bound to lose one after the other anti-malarial drug. Anyone who read Roger Bate's book 'Phaked' will have to acknowledge that until we get serious about this matter, we are up against a wall. But it is a complicated matter, and so we shy away from it. Can we afford to continue this way?
2) Artemisinin resistance is bound to get in our way, and we will even be faced with ACT resistance in Africa. But we continue with the use of ACTs as if they are the panacea for curing malaria. We've had the pleasure of a decade of using ACTs, but it will be coming to an end. Can we shy away from this very serious matter?
3) Bednets have saved countless lives - there is no doubt about it. But also this technology is showing cracks. Resistance to the only class of insecticides approved for impregnation is spreading like wildfire. Yet we continue distributing nets, even to areas where we know resistance is rampant. Moreover, donor fatigue will kick in, sooner rather than later, so who will replace the millions of nets that were dished out for free when they are torn and no longer effective?
4) Searching for new chemical insecticides is like doing the same thing over again. By now we should have learnt that whenever we throw a chemical at an insect it will become resistant in due course. So why do we spend millions and millions of dollars on finding new insecticides when we know up front that they will help for a few years only? Why can't we face this dilemma and really search for viable and sustainable approaches to control malaria vectors?
5) ...this one is for you to fill.
Numerous issues affect the way in which we move forward in the battle against malaria. Like Margaret says, openness isn't the end, it is the beginning. And as she says 'But when we dare to brake that silence, and when we dare to see, and we create conflict, we enable ourselves and the people around us to do our very best thinking. Open information is fantastic, open networks are essential, but the truth won't set us free until we develop the skills and the habit, and the talent and the moral courage to use it.'
Wouldn't you agree? What is your issue regarding malaria that deserves to be discussed yet is hidden away?