I am working my way through the countries, the diseases and the disasters. Today I met with Malaria Venture – a group researching and developing a new raft of drugs to treat malaria. There is no vaccine in sight – so it’s a matter of treatment by drugs and prevention by nets, better systems for no stagnant water in which to breed etc. Their major backers are Mr and Mrs Microsoft, who foot the bill for the largest slice of their work – but they still need funding to move a procession of new drugs work forward and for those coming out the other end with imminent registration. And they need the politicians to push out the barriers in terms of how such drugs can be delivered.
I was interested to learn that one of the barriers to delivery is that the people themselves often won’t take the drugs – preferring first to go to local stalls or shops where often they are sold tablets by unscrupulous merchants which cost a fortune and don’t treat the disease. Often these tablets are made of chalk. So – clearly governance is an issue. How, in these types of territory can you stop such criminal activity?
Watched in horror in the later evening (my children insist – that’s my defence) as Celebrity Big Brother let one of the inmates, a Bollywood Film Star (and very beautiful) be mercilessly bullied by three stupid, young idiots. It was just what bullying is – nasty ganging up on someone who is different from the pack. But these three ghastly girls are way out of school age. Shilpa was clearly hurt – but handling it very gracefully I thought. However, this is unacceptable television – but more importantly demonstrates quite clearly how unpleasant the views of some people are. This won’t end here – nor should it.