NYT columnist Joe Nocera draws sensible conclusions about the pell-mell rush on the part of Big American philanthropists and their corporate supporters to throw money at anti-malaria programs in Africa. As he writes in today’s newspaper: “And maybe thatâ€™s the best way to think about what Mr. Sachs â€” and Western companies â€” are trying to do. Theirs is not a solution but an experiment. It will surely do some good, but it is impossible to know how much. It is a worthy effort, but probably not as profoundly transformative as he likes to portray it. And it is probably best not to get too excited, no matter how inspiring the speeches at New York fund-raisers. Because someday malaria is no longer going to be the pet cause in American boardrooms. And then what?”
What Nocera doesn’t say — perhaps because he hasn’t visited any part of malaria-ridden Africa — is that the hard work of eliminating malaria will fall on Africans themselves who face a difficult set of trade-offs over how they attack the task of prevention.