Expert says fight against malaria looks promising

The future of the global fight against malaria looks encouraging, in part because of the large influx of international aid.

Dr. Bernard Nahlen, the deputy coordinator of the President's Malaria Initiative, recently told a group of global health students at the Yale School of Public Health that international initiatives such as the Roll Back Malaria Partnership have contributed to reduced mortality rates, according to

Nahlen said that continued aid could help to produce a viable vaccine by as early as 2014. He said that more funding could help avoid even more malaria-related deaths. Often, a lack of infrastructure and facilities in malaria-endemic countries contributes to high mortality rates.

"This should be unacceptable," Nahlen said, reports. "A lot of these kids end up dying in hospitals because they don't have the resources."

In addition to causing innumerable deaths, Nahlen pointed out that the illness stunts economic growth in developing countries. Malaria can cost African nations an estimated 1.3 percent of annual GDP through decreased productivity.

Nahlen praised the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, an umbrella organization that directs global anti-malaria activities. The partnership was launched in 1998 by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership has been critical in an effort to distribute bed netting treated with a mild insecticide, which can kill mosquitoes before they have a chance to bite their intended victim.

"It does look very promising," Nahlen said, according to "It's probably not good enough yet ... but it's a great first step."