‘Dodgy’ dossier partly to blame for failure of war against malaria

September 11th, 2008 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 11 (IANS) A ‘dodgy’ intelligence dossier is being blamed for losing the war against malaria, because it had argued that methods to tackle the disease in temperate countries would also work in the tropics.Colin Sutherland, a senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, explained “previous efforts to eradicate malaria, if considered, only succeeded in countries where the plasmodium parasite was weak and its mosquito vector was vulnerable, particularly where populations were wealthy enough to afford the best tools available.

“The failure to eradicate malaria in tropical countries, where the parasite is now at its strongest, with the mosquitoes doing very well, is in part, due to the one-size-fits-all approach that could have been avoided if we had heeded the evidence from Africa over half a century ago.”

Sutherland cautioned against the obsession among the western media with the “scientific breakthrough”, a concept which consequently dominates popular notions of science.

It is the careful synthesis of incremental advances in knowledge, and the dissemination of that knowledge to key decision-makers, health ministries and governments that will help us win the war against malaria, he said.

The session at the BA Festival of Science in Liverpool Wednesday looked at ways of best achieving this.

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