Peter Singer: Effective Altruism
Peter Singer talks about effective altruism and donating to Against Malaria in his latest TED talk.
Progress made with discussions in Senegal
A significant distribution in Senegal is a step closer with very good recent progress in discussions with the Senegal National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) who share AMF's data-driven and verification-based methodology for net distributions.
See our list of Future Distributions.
An update on distributions being assessed
More progress has been made in assessing a number of future distributions with several nearing full approval status.
Twelve month post-distribution survey in Malawi under way
Continued use of nets is very important and every six months a post-distribution survey is carried out to assess net usage and net condition. The data collected are used to determine if additional community-level malaria education activities are required. All data are published.
The six months post-distribution survey for Ntcheu, Malawi, of 7,657 households and 15,768 nets showed a hang-up (usage) level of 90% and the percentage of nets in a very good condition of 99% (ninety nine).
The twelve months survey is now under way and the results are being entered as the survey forms come in. You can see the data, which is being updated in real time, on the summary page. The data will then be checked before being added to the main Ntcheu distribution page.
Disappointing results from malaria vaccine trial
Everyone involved in malaria control has a fervent wish a malaria vaccine is found.
Recent results from an ongoing trial are therefore disappointing.
The trial’s report concludes: ‘The efficacy of RTS,S/AS01E vaccine over the 4-year period was 16.8%. Efficacy declined over time and with increasing malaria exposure.’
Reuters reports: ‘The disappointing results for RTS,S - the world's first potential malaria vaccine - raise further questions about whether it can make a difference in the fight against the disease, a major cause of illness and death among children in sub-Saharan Africa. "The results are kind of disappointing because we'd all like to see a malaria vaccine that has closer to 80 percent or 100 percent efficacy," said Christopher Plowe, a malaria researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the United States, who was not involved in the RTS,S trial. There is currently no vaccine that offers complete protection against malaria. Control measures such as insecticide-treated bednets, indoor spraying and anti-malaria drugs have helped cut malaria cases and deaths significantly in recent years, but drug resistance is growing and experts say an effective vaccine could be a vital tool in eradicating the disease.’
We have just passed $17m raised, 4 million nets funded and our 60,000th donation!
Thank you for your support which has helped protect many people from malaria.
The next two milestones we hope to reach are:
- 500,000 people participating/ed in fundraising initiatives - currently we are at 476,028. If you could organise a fundraising activity - be it just you, or a group of friends or some people at work - please do! An opportunity to have fun too.
- Increasing our base of recurring donations from $40,000 per month to $80,000 a month, so we can approach $1m per year. Recurring donations help us plan and 100% buys nets and we include more information here.
Thank you again,
Future distributions - updated
We have recently made significant progress in assessing a number of future distributions.
You can view the current status of each distribution with visual and summary updates on our future distributions page.
For the first time AMF is funding non-nets costs for a distribution i.e. costs beyond those of just the nets themselves. It is not expected this will become the norm or indeed be repeated. The funding for non-net costs will NOT come from public donations to AMF. Our promise that '100% of the funds you donate will buy nets' still stands. They will instead be covered by donor/s who have arranged with us to donate for this specific purpose. We explain here why we are doing this.
Details of recently approved distributions
We have approved a distribution of 235,000 LLINs to the two districts of Balaka and Dedza in Malawi. Both districts are badly affected by malaria. These nets will be distributed form March to July 2013 and will achieve universal coverage - coverage of all sleeping spaces - across both districts. Each net protects close to two people. Our distribution partner for this distribution is Concern Universal.
You can view the details of the Balaka
distributions on our website.
$16 million milestone passed!
We have now passed the $16 million mark, thanks to a donor from Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA!
Our sincere thanks to everyone for their support and generosity over the past month.
A great start to 2013
Only one week after passing the $14 million mark we have just passed the $15 million mark! What a great start to the year.
We are also about to pass through 57,000 donors too. You can see all our milestones on the website.
Best wishes to all for 2013.
$14 million and 55 thousand donors
We have just reached the $14 million milestone, only a few weeks after passing $13 million!
We have received donations both large and small and every $4 matters as every net matters.
100% of the funds we have received will buy nets and all donors will be able to see exactly where the nets they fund are distributed.
$13 million raised and 3 million nets funded so far
We have just passed the $13 million mark, thanks to a donor from San Francisco, USA!
Every donation from every person counts as the total of $13,120,514 from over 54,000 donations and transactions, in 168 countries, indicates. 100% buys nets.
That's 3,038,427 nets, protecting more than 5 million people.
2012 has been a good year for Against Malaria. With your support we have almost reached the $13 million raised mark and we would like to share a few of the highlights with you.
Malaria in Ntcheu, Malawi falls by up to 50%
After a major distribution of 270,000 nets in locations across Ntcheu we have been collecting data on the incidence of malaria in each location and monitoring the continued use and condition of the nets. more
GiveWell ranked us #1 for the second year running, saying "AMF has outstanding self-evaluation and transparency. It first became our #1 charity in late 2011 and has continued to impress us." more
We have revamped our website and added even more information on the workings of the charity, in keeping with our emphasis on transparency with all aspects of our work. We have made improvements to many other pages and added the ability to make a donation as a gift for someone else. more
Best wishes for the holiday season,
Rob and Andrew
Showing our future distributions
In the coming months we intend to publish status information for each potential distribution being assessed. Information will be presented in a format similar to that shown on our Future distributions page.
AMF has been ranked #1 for the second year running!
We are delighted to say GiveWell has just announced its updated top charity ranking... and AMF has been ranked #1 for the second year running!
GiveWell has said, "...of all the charitable interventions we know of that have clear room for more funding, this one has the strongest evidence of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. AMF has outstanding self-evaluation and transparency. It first became our #1 charity in late 2011 and has continued to impress us."
Recently approved distributions and others being assessed
We have approved a distribution of 250,000 nets in the districts of Balaka and Dedza in Malawi. The distribution would take sleeping space coverage levels from 30-60% (the level is currently unknown) to 90% and above. We are discussing the funding of non-net costs and the timing of the pre-distribution registration survey with our distribution partner. We expect the distribution to place before the end of Q1 2013.
The distribution partner is Concern Universal, Malawi, with whom we distributed 270,000 nets in Ntcheu district from January to April 2012. An NMCP coordinated distribution of nets took place in the districts in the middle of 2012. Further nets are required to achieve universal coverage.
We are assessing nine distributions of between 60,000 and 4 million nets each. The distributions are in Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. In one country we are lookng at several separate distributions. Assessments are at different stages.
The quantities of nets we are considering, with the country's estimated need in 2013 shown in brackets, are:
Angola - 500,000 to 1 million (3.2 million)
Burkina Faso - 500,000 to 1 million (8.6 million)
Cameroon - 500,000 (2.1 million)
Malawi - 500,000 to 1 million (500,000 to 1 million)
Mali - 500,000 (4 million)
Nigeria - 500,000 to 1.5 million (tens of millions)
Senegal - 60,000 (unclear)
Sierra Leone - 500,000 to 1 million (3.4 million)
This information and future updates can be found in our recently launched Future Distributions
Update to donors with as yet allocated donations
We have not proceeded with three potential distributions being considered during 2012 in Malawi, Togo and Mali.
Malawi, 600,000 LLINs
Through January to June 2012 we offered to contribute 600,000 to 1 million nets to close the gap in nets required to achieve universal coverage. The NMCP would not progress discussions about sharing the extensive pre-distribution registration data they said they had. We considered it important for us to see to this information before contributing nets.
Togo, 500,000 LLINs
Through January to August 2012, we offered to contribute 500,000 nets when there were no other sources of funding to fill the net gap to complete a universal coverage campaign. The offer was not accepted. The NMCP would not agree to a Pre-Distribution Registration Survey (PDRS) being carried out even though our Distribution Partner had agreed to do so and had agreed to fund it. The NMCP said they had conducted a universal coverage campaign on the basis of one net per two people and they did not want to change the basis of the distribution. We said if the data was good, we could agree to that being the basis of the distribution. We asked to see the data. No data was forthcoming. A PDRS was required in our view as the existing NMCP data was:
- for the number of people per household rather than the number of sleeping spaces (although not the best basis, we could have agreed to using this data if it were recently collected and accurate, with additional accuracy being sacrificed in order to achieve an immediate distribution and people protected); and
- gathered at least six months previously when discussions first began and at least 12 months old when we withdrew from discussions.
Mali, 500,000+ LLINs
Unrest and fighting, including killings, in Mali have led to security fears and safety concerns. Our distribution partner has on several occasions withdrawn staff from the country. This has put our potential contribution of nets on hold. New timing is unknown. The need is for 4 million nets.
We have learned it is important to progress more potential distributions at the same time to avoid a delay in converting funds to nets.
Is the failure to progress with these distributions a concern?
Yes, in that it has meant we have taken longer to convert funds into nets being distributed.
What would we do differently if faced with the same situation?
We would progress more potential distributions at the same time. We are doing that now. See below
Could this be indicative of what we might find when trying to do more large-scale distributions with the degree of accuracy, transparency and accountability we require?
We do not think so. What supports this is there is a significant need for nets and the results we have achieved in Ntcheu have generated interest. More distributions with similar results will help further.
3rd update on our distribution in Ntcheu District, Malawi
We have received the third three-months set of post-distribution malaria case data following the February 2012 distribution of 270,000 nets in Ntcheu District, Malawi
. The results continue to be good.
A quick summary:
- The incidence of malaria in July, August and September 2012 were 41%, 47% and 35% lower than in the corresponding months of the prior year.
We will continue to collect and publish monthly malaria data and hope to see this decline in malaria rates continue.
Malaria vaccine update - an additional comment
While recent field trial results for the potential malaria vaccine RTS,S may be disappointing, it is worth noting this is important work and the science may well prove an important contributor to the eventual development of a successful, cost-effective malaria vaccine. From an editorial in The New England Journal Of Medicine by Johanna Daily:
“The results of this trial suggest that this candidate malaria vaccine is not ready to become part of the routine panel of infant immunizations. [AMF added bold] However, this trial did show protection in a subset of children and thus should be used as an opportunity to enlighten researchers regarding the host responses that correlate with vaccine protection. There are many vaccine candidates in the pipeline that use alternative parasite targets and vaccination strategies. Whether leaders in malaria-vaccine development will be able to support the costs needed to integrate sophisticated host-response studies or other value-added studies into these future vaccine trials remains to be seen. The results of this immunization trial suggest that a malaria vaccine is possible, but a more detailed understanding of effective host responses will be necessary to achieve this goal and avert the illnesses and deaths associated with this devastating infection for millions of children."
We hope significant funding will be directed to vaccine research for the five malaria parasites. While it is the case, currently, there has never been an effective vaccine against a parasite, there is reason to believe scientific research will lead to one being developed. The impact of such a vaccine could be hugely significant.