Oxfam casts doubt on malaria drug financing scheme

Oxfam, a charity with the goal of targeting poverty and injustice, cast doubt on an international scheme meant to boost effective malaria treatment.

Oxfam raised concern about the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria, claiming there is no evidence the program is saving the lives of people who are the most vulnerable. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria introduced the global subsidy three years ago, BBC reports.

"The AMFm is a dangerous distraction from genuine solutions like investing in community health workers, who have slashed the number of malarial deaths in countries such as Zambia and Ethiopia," Mohga Kamal Yanni, the senior health policy advisor of Oxfam, said, according to BBC. "The Global Fund board must act on the evidence and put a stop to the AMFm now."

In a statement, the Global Fund said that Oxfam's claims were false.

"Some Western aid groups oppose a pragmatic approach that includes any involvement of the private sector," the Global Fund said, according to BBC. "But the reality of this program is that it is getting life-saving medicine to people who need it most from the private sector outlets where they already seek treatment. Before the launch of AMFm, life-saving malaria treatments cost up to 20 times as much. An extensive study has shown that AMFm has increased availability and reduced prices for high quality anti-malarial drugs."

The government of the United Kingdom has contributed approximately $112 million to AMFm since its inception.

The scheme is being piloted in seven countries, including Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. The future of AMFm will be decided at a Global Fund board meeting in November, BBC reports.