April 25th is World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day represents mobilizing civil society in the fight against malaria.

Malaria and tuberculosis together kill nearly as many people each year as AIDS, and represent a severe drain on national economies. And it is in sub-Saharan Africa which accounts for ninety (90%) per cent of malaria deaths.

Most notably, malaria is a preventable and treatable disease.

One of the goals of The Millennium Development Goals is to address the malaria scourge.

The ongoing Roll Back Malaria Partnership campaign 'Counting Malaria Out' aims to intensify global efforts to reach important milestones set by the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP).

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Altruism produces warm glow phenomenon in the brain

When individuals engage in voluntary giving, investigators using MRI have found that the reward reaction is intense, producing a warm glow phenomenon in the brain.

"It's mysterious that human beings among all mammals are so hyper-social that our brains are wired to help other people, even strangers." said Paul Zak of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University. "Economists have always been shocked by unselfish altruism, and now we have a reason for it: It feels good to do this."

This study supports the idea of "pure altruism" -- that people take action even if the behavior is not explicitly in their own interest.

As for why humans would develop a desire to help others, the researchers can only speculate. One basic is that early humans lived in small groups, where survival of the group helped your own cause.


Lives saved through venture philanthropy

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of a new breed seen as a venture philanthropists, with lives saved the gains sought for.

Nonprofits such as the Gates Foundation and Seattle-based PATH are working with pharmaceutical companies to push development of vaccines for neglected diseases that ravage developing nations.

They've taken the unorthodox step of paying for research the drug companies would not do otherwise, because there isn't demand for such drugs in wealthier countries.

The foundation also must provide funds for poor countries to buy the vaccines, convince government leaders to include them in their health budgets and find an effective distribution system. It's like building a market from scratch, said Erik Iverson, the foundation's associate general counsel.