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Bart G.J. Knols's blog

Last week at MalariaWorld: MalariaWorld has been a free service for 5 years. Would you be willing to pay 10 USD per year for it? Let us know.

April 10, 2014 - 21:35 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Please help us by answering the following question in our latest Poll: MalariaWorld has been a free service for 5 years. Would you be willing to pay 10 USD per year for it? It is very important for us to receive your opinion. Just take a second and respond to this Poll. You will need to log-in to be able to respond (see information below if you don't know how) and you will find the Poll on the home page at www.malariaworld.org, scroll down on the left side. If you need assistance, just send an email to info@malariaworld.org.
 
PSI has got a vacancy for a deputy director at their malaria & child survival department in Washington DC, USA. Read the PSI malaria vacancy here. Feel free to share the vacancy with your fellow collegues.
 
News from MESA: New operational research projects in malaria elimination will start this April, after being selected for funding through MESA. Read MESA operational research grants start activities here.
 
This week we share a new column with you. Alvaro Pemartin from Spain shares his story about how he, as a European emergency doctor, was confronted with his ignorance about malaria when he faced the harsh reality in Sierra Leone. In a series of columns, Alvaro wants to reflect on the perception of malaria among western health professionals. Read his first column 'What do health professionals in Europe know about malaria? ‘Part I: European statistics’ here
 
Enjoy this week's MalariaWorld - the MW team.
 

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Column: Where do you hang a mosquito net in the bush?

April 2, 2014 - 19:22 -- Bart G.J. Knols
So you live in DR Congo. Your youngest child has visited the health post today, she is diagnosed with malaria. You were lucky that there was somebody at the clinic today. They gave you a blister with drugs. It is not quite clear how you got the first capsule into this two year old, but you managed. She is asleep now, safely under a mosquito net that was donated to you last year.
 
All of a sudden you hear noise outside. Gunshots, men running, men screaming. You know what this means. You, your family, you have to run. NOW.
 

In memoriam: Ernst-Jan Scholte (1974 - 2014)

March 20, 2014 - 19:00 -- Bart G.J. Knols

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of my friend, colleague and my former PhD student Dr. Ernst-Jan Scholte, yesterday, 16 March 2014. Although obituaries are normally written for scientists that died at an old age and had a massive track record in our field, I feel the urge to commemorate and remember this great person in front of you all at MalariaWorld. He became only 40 years of age - after fighting cancer for a year.

Ernst-Jan first contacted me in 1998 when he was still a biology student at the Wageningen University. At that time I was working in Nairobi for the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). Ernst-Jan (or EJ as many called him) wanted to study mosquitoes and do an internship with me for six months. He was lucky. Within a week after he arrived in Kenya we undertook a wonderful safari to the border with Tanzania, visiting and hiking in a Masai area where I had previously worked on tsetse flies. EJ loved it from day one. He fell in love with Africa, its people and its wildlife, and was extremely motivated in his work. I will never forget the nights we camped out in the bush together...

New: Book on architecture and health (notably malaria)

March 20, 2014 - 18:14 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Early nomadic shelters, including caves, animal skin tents, and igloos, were used for protection against the wind, rain, snow, sunlight, and other forces of nature. These basic homes also provided defence against predators and were used to store a few important possessions. They were temporary, and proximity to a water source was of prime importance.
 

Column: Out of sight, out of mind? How has imaging advanced our understanding of Plasmodium infected erythrocytes?

March 12, 2014 - 21:57 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Being a lab-based malaria researcher in a non-endemic country, I’ve been really interested by the columns that our colleagues ‘in the field’ have shared; looking at vector populations, elimination strategies and experiences of disease themselves. My perspectives of malaria are rather different however, and I hope to share more of a laboratory angle in my contributions to MalariaWorld this year. With that in mind, where better to start than the microscope and how most of us first come ‘face to face’ with Plasmodium spp? 
 
A bit of history
 
Much of our knowledge of Plasmodium parasites has come from the ability to visualize them (reviewed by [1]). The first description of the causative agents of malaria by Laveran in 1880 was made possible by 400x magnification of infected blood samples, and detected the pigment we now know as haemozoin. Since then the Giemsa stain, developed in 1904, has made it possible to differentiate between species, and remains the clinical gold standard to diagnose infection... 

Updated version of book freely available

March 5, 2014 - 11:51 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The freely available book titled "Artemisia annua,Artemisinin, ACTs & Malaria Control in Africa: Tradition, Science and Public Policy", has been updated by the author, Dana Dalrymple, and has been expanded with an Annex (Annex 7), titled: "The Early Role of Novartis in ACT Development" (pp. 189-192).

The book is attached to this blog. We are grateful to Dr. Dalrymple to make this updated version available for free to MalariaWorld subscribers.

The MW team.

Column: Problems on the Horizon

March 2, 2014 - 22:08 -- Bart G.J. Knols
As an avid observer of malaria transmission patterns, I am becoming worried about sustaining the advances that have developed over the past ten or so years. There is no doubt that the advent of insecticide treated bednets has provided a vehicle for various interested parties to exploit as a means of vector control, and this has happened in huge numbers. Tens of millions of LLINs have been delivered to various governments, NGOs and other interested parties, and this is still happening. But when it comes to monitoring the effects of this intervention, when it comes to careful evaluation of the programmes, there isn’t much to hear...

World Health Day (7 April) about vector-borne diseases

February 24, 2014 - 19:50 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This year World Health Day has its focus on vector-borne diseases, including malaria. The World Health Organization has set specific goals for this day, and is asking the international community working on malaria and other vectors to pay special attention towards protection from vector-borne diseases.

Column: If they are lazy, are we stupid?

February 16, 2014 - 21:15 -- Bart G.J. Knols
The following is an actual quote from an investigator/professor (who shall remain anonymous) working in a malaria-endemic region whilst referring to the local riverine population, in a relaxed while-drinking-a-beer environment: “They could have less malaria, but they’re just too lazy to build proper houses”.
 
I don’t know about you, but for me that was the spark for a 30 minute argument that ruined the relaxed while-drinking-a-beer environment of that afternoon! The thing is, I find it difficult when I have to sit and listen to educated men and women from a variety of backgrounds and in a position to actually have their opinions on malaria heard (WHO, big regional Hospitals or small local district health centers, professors and researchers at universities or NGO workers) being asked the question of why malaria hasn’t been eliminated so far and hear that, in some way, it is the fault of individuals living in malaria endemic areas. Usually the arguments for that go somewhat like: they don’t clean their gutters or other possible mosquito breeding grounds; they don’t close the gaps between the wooden boards of their houses or between the roof and the walls, they don’t sleep under bednets, they insist in staying outdoors after dark, they don’t use insect repellent or have fans in their houses, etc, etc… I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, if you haven’t thought it yourself...

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