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Pedro Alonso to replace Rob Newman at GMP

August 1, 2014 - 12:37 -- Clive Shiff

I am pleased to see that Pedro will take over the hard task that Rob Newman left. Rob was instrumental in bringing the Global Malaria Programme back to life, and now I would like to see it expand its influence. When one looks at the various malaria control operations in various countries and read the various blogs etc, it is apparent that there is a lack of coordination, and in most instances there are several agencies, donors, major players and national personalities operating. The situation is such that some countries are excellent platforms for research projects, even trying a variety of interventions but it is difficult to see a cohesive operation emerging.
I believe that coordination is the role of the WHO and slowly it should adopt this role. It will mean that National programmes should design their strategies with input of the GMP in spite of the level of donor assistance. i.e. The driving force needs to be the country Ministry of Health with their own expertise together with GMP expertise and the donor expertise. GMP will adopt the role of "Sapiental Authority" (i.e. the main advisor) [aside, I didn't coin this phrase, but learned about it years ago in Africa when it was used to describe the 'advice of wisdom', not authoritarian advice.]
I know this idea will receive derisive criticism because I have spoken to several in the donor driving seat, and heard their opinion, but it really the objective is to control malaria in a country (or region)there needs to be a structured and coordinated strategy that will be sustained long after the donor tires.....!


Submitted by Joseph Okebe (not verified) on

I could not agree more. The NMCPs are the "boots on the ground" and should know what works best. I said should because at the moment, I am not sure these programmes fully grasp the scope of what is needed control and elimination requirement. Its probably a mix of unavailable and unusable data. Groups like the Clinton Foundation have been developing systems that could be applied to country-context to understand the implications of such a goal.

William Jobin's picture
Submitted by William Jobin on

Thanks Clive for the notice about the new Director of GMP.

I don't envy him his job however, with resistance popping up everywhere.

It is my fervent hope that Dr, Alonso will expand the narrow Specialist Approach which WHO seems to be stuck in, and instead use the Generalist Approach in which all available methods are used in the most cost-effective combination.

The Specialist Approach is limited to methods familiar to public health physicians. The Generalist Approach - as described by Snowden in his history of the successful Italian campaign, used all sectors of society and science. Improvements in drainage, agricultural practices, health services, education, governance, rural development and community action.

It is noteworthy that no country relying on the Specialist Approach (drugs, biocides and bednets) has ever eliminated malaria.

And conversely, all the countries which have documented a deliberate and successful program to eliminate malaria have used the Generalist Approach (Puerto Rico, USA, Italy, Israel, Mauritius and Turkmenistan).

I also hope he will not use WHO resources for research, field or otherwise. A million people die every year in Africa from malaria. That demands immediate attention by WHO and their GMP.


William Jobin Director of Blue Nile Associates

Submitted by Dr. Pierre Bush (not verified) on

Congratulations to Dr. Alonzo. I expect him to continue to build on the progress made in malaria elimination. A lot of gains have been made in reducing malaria morbidity and mortality everywhere, but mostly in Africa. We can now say confidently that it is possible to eliminate malaria in the coming 50 years.
Dr. Pierre Bush, PhD, MLS (ASCP) cm

Submitted by Musa jawara (not verified) on

The malaria world should join hands and support this able and energetic new director. It is only through our collective efforts and cooperation that the goals of the GMP will be realised and we have the right captain steering the ship. Congrats and best wishes Pedro.

Clive Shiff's picture
Submitted by Clive Shiff on

Yesterday the BMJ published a "head to head" debate between myself and Bruno Moonen (see open the link "news and views: and go to Head to Head. I would be happy to see your comments, (anyone who reads it!)

Clive Shiff

Submitted by Anton Alexander (not verified) on

Bruno Moonen has to say it is possible (but meant it only theoretically). If he is waiting for something, a cure-all, for the world, he will have a long wait. He forgets that malaria is basically a local problem and has to be dealt with accordingly.
You Clive are correct in stressing the 'WE' to indicate who is ultimately responsible for initiating and conducting the anti-malaria work. Only the country concerned can conduct the work to the point of malaria elimination. It is a pity the malaria community don't pay more attention to you.