Malaria Detection Requires Bleeding Heart
Jun. 4, 2009 — Malaria is a huge problem in tropical countries of the Third World. This is why some people have emphasized improving techniques for detecting the parasite that causes the disease, and yet a proven method for detecting the parasite was developed more than 100 years ago.
The problem is that it requires a microscope, and microscopes are expensive and require a trained operator. You're not going to find many fancy microscopes and sage microscopists in the savannahs of central Africa or in the jungles of Central America.
The other method is a rapid diagnostic test. Although the test doesn't always work (it can fail because of the heat and doesn't detect all variations of the parasite), it costs just a dollar per test. Problem is, some people in endemic countries live on less than a dollar per day. When writing about this topic in the past, I described methods that are hopefully going to be both effective and cost less money.
But what I am convinced of is that this is not really a technological problem, but rather an economic one. The proven technologies have been developed. What we really need is for kind people to come together and find a way to help financially support these technologies in developing countries.
View more of David's blog entries here
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