On December 6, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its annual report on malaria. The report notes that in 2020, there were more than 241 million cases and approximately 627,000 deaths due to malaria. 95% of malaria cases and 96% of deaths happened in Africa. This represents a six percent increase in cases and 12% increase in deaths from 2019.
We are losing the war on malaria. According to Dr. Pedro Alonso, “we are badly off track and time is running out.”
The problem with the war on malaria is that most malaria fighting strategies focus on symptoms of malaria, and not the root cause. The root cause of malaria cases and deaths is poverty.
Existing strategies to treat malaria, such as providing insecticide treated nets, indoor residual spraying, and preventive chemotherapies have all been shown to reduce the malaria burden on communities, but they are largely unsustainable resource transfers from rich donors to poor communities.
In our research, we call this a push strategy of development.
Push strategies are often driven by the priorities of their originators, typically experts or donors in a particular field of development. They generate solutions that are recommended to low-income communities based on their research and expertise on a particular problem. Although the solutions proffered by push strategists are often “free,” they’re rarely sustainable, beyond the control of local communities, and can be stopped at any time.
As a result, funding is never enough and whenever there is a crisis, like COVID-19, these initiatives suffer. An extra 47,000 people died from malaria because of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, what if, instead of fighting malaria, we fought poverty by focusing on creating prosperity in poor countries? This will require a paradigm shift in our thinking and will cause us to consider an entirely different approach called pull strategies.
Pull strategies are different from push strategies in almost every way and are far more effective at triggering sustainable prosperity. These strategies are originated by innovators on the ground who are responding to the struggles of everyday consumers or specific market demands. They also have a more investigative or inquisitorial approach to problem-solving as opposed to a more advocacy or assertive approach.
Read the full article about malaria by Efosa Ojomo at Christensen Institute.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for North America, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and North America.
Looking for a way to get involved?
If you are interested in Diseases and Cures, please see these relevant events, training, conferences or volunteering opportunities the Giving Compass team recommends.
Are you ready to give?
In addition to learning and connecting with others, taking action is a key step towards becoming an impact giver. If you are interested in giving with impact for Diseases and Cures take a look at these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations or Projects.