Press Room

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), a practicing physician, today praised President Bush’s announcement of a bold new initiative to combat malaria.  The initiative was announced in advance of the G-8 summit in an effort to generate similar commitments on this devastating disease by other G-8 nations. 
     “Malaria is the number one killer of children and pregnant women in Africa and yet the disease is entirely preventable and cheap to cure.  I applaud the President’s commitment to achieve measurable results.  The key element of the President’s initiative is not merely his pledge to increase resources, but his commitment to focus U.S. efforts on direct, large-scale prevention and treatment programs in targeted countries,” Dr. Coburn said.
     Dr. Coburn held a hearing on U.S. bilateral malaria programs last month, which highlighted critically-needed improvements to existing U.S. efforts in order to ensure that those efforts actually save lives.  Dr. Coburn is the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security.
     Many of these policy changes are being addressed by the President’s new initiative:
  • Funding on-the-ground mosquito control efforts, including indoor residual spraying of insecticides like DDT, and free, universal distribution of long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed-nets.
  • Direct provision of state-of-the-art, inexpensive medicines for patients suffering from malaria.
  • Measuring performance by the number of lives saved.
  • Consolidating resources into key focus countries able and ready to implement life-saving programs on a large scale.

     “The President’s announcement holds great promise.  Its success will depend on strong new leadership that demonstrates a commitment to transparency and results.  Americans are the most generous people on earth.  When a disease kills so many children every year, Americans want to know where their dollars are going.  Americans want to know that those dollars are buying life-saving results.  I urge the Administration to post all spending information for malaria and other health programs on a publicly accessible web-site,” Dr. Coburn said.

     The President’s announcement is only the first step in the process of implementing the initiative.  Congress must take up the policy changes and provide the funding.  The key elements of the President’s successful malaria control program are contained in S. 950, the Eliminate Neglected Disease (END) Act of 2005, a bill cosponsored by Dr. Coburn.


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