December 9, 2014


The Malaria Fighter (DONALD G. McNEIL Jr., 10/20/14, NY Times)

Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, head of the strikingly successful President's Malaria Initiative, has been quietly fighting the disease, cutting yearly malaria deaths to about 600,000 from one million. David Corcoran and Jeffery DelViscio
"All the organizations fighting malaria work more closely than they did eight years ago," said Ray Chambers, the private equity investor and co-founder of Malaria No More who is now the United Nations Secretary General's Special Envoy for Malaria. "I think that's due in no small part to Tim and his personality. He's not seeking individual credit and he works for the team -- but his trains run on time."

Since he took the job in 2006, worldwide malaria deaths have dropped 40 percent, to about 600,000 a year from one million.

"He never seeks the limelight, but he deserves a lot of credit for that," said Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, owner of Vestergaard, the world's biggest mosquito net maker.

Many countries now use the tactics Admiral Ziemer adopted after demanding proof that they worked. For prevention, they include free distribution of nets impregnated with insecticide, indoor pesticide spraying and routine doses of malaria medicine for pregnant women. For diagnosis and treatment, they include rapid blood tests and pills that combine a new fast-acting Chinese drug, artemisinin, with one of several longer-lasting drugs.

He was touring rural Myanmar because the region is the cradle of drug-resistant malaria and his agency is fighting it by subsidizing two-drug pills. If artemisinin becomes ineffective, malaria experts say, it would be a disaster equivalent to losing chloroquine, a former "miracle cure."

Admiral Ziemer's self-effacing, penny-pinching approach -- he flies coach everywhere, even when executives of other relief organizations traveling with him buy business-class tickets, an aide said privately -- has helped make him a political survivor.

Since he was appointed by President George W. Bush, he has outlasted three global AIDS czars.

Posted by at December 9, 2014 4:22 PM

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