And yet, there are major inhumane reasons for not treating malaria sufferers. Foremost, pharmaceutical companies cannot make money from them because most malaria sufferers are poor. Second, some philanthropical organisations find it much easier to raise funds for work on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS than malaria, so funding is directed by the emotions of the givers rather than the evidence of burden of disease or effective strategy. I think this was the nub of Thoreau's criticism - that philanthropy has a tendency to distort action to favour things which tug the heartstrings rather than those which produce best results. An excellent article on the current shambolic results of sentiment-driven policy is here
. Please don't get me wrong - my aim in this discussion is to promote coordinated and effective responses, and not a retreat into selfishness, which is the risk of any criticism of charity.