The very fact that Western Africa has become a significant stop on the global trade route is evidence in itself of the failure of the drug war, a failure that won't be straightened out by doubling down on the same strategy. Indeed, drug traffickers are in Africa as a direct result of U.S. pressure on trading routes first in the Caribbean, and then in South and Central America. It began with a decision in the late 1970s, taken by President Jimmy Carter, to militarize drug policy on the Mexican border, and was expanded first by Reagan, and then by ever president to follow him.
Until a few weeks ago the thought of getting malaria had never crossed my mind as I'm fortunate to live in a US city where malaria is not a problem. Even when I travel to tropical areas like my parents' home country of Panama where mosquitoes eat me alive, I'm not worried as malaria is no longer present in that part of the country. This is a stark contrast to my recent trip with Malaria No More UK to Ghana, West Africa, where malaria affects the entire population of 24 million people and is a leading cause of death amongst young children. The charity has released a short film today about my trip - I went to learn as much as I could about malaria and the work happening to make sure every home in the country has a mosquito net by the end of this year.