Do I really care? I am asking myself that question. Do I really care about malaria and the devastating effects it has on so many peoples' lives far away from my (safe) home?
I have lived a quarter of my life in malaria endemic countries, notably Africa. I almost died of malaria in Tanzania. I have witnessed the suffering it causes. But that was all some years ago. Now I am back in my home country far away from the malaria threat.
We are running MalariaWorld. Why? Because I believe that any malaria professional anywhere in the world has the right to access available malaria information and publications. I believe that by sharing information, by networking and through collaboration we can make a difference. A difference that is needed to achieve impact on the ground. I am talking about saving lives. I am not just doing a job. I would be happy to lose my job if that would imply that we have eradicated malaria. So yes, I believe I care.
In this light I find it interesting to read that Anton Alexander emphasizes the importance of the contribution of scientists residing in malaria endemic countries to the succes of malaria elimination in his blog: "The advantage of a vested interest in malaria elimination". Here he builts on the issues raised by Alvaro Permatin in his column of January 22 "Public health concerns (too) far away from home. Who cares?". Interesting thoughts... when considering who makes decisions about malaria control and elimination and what the role of scientists (and other experts) who reside in malaria endemic countries in this decision process is. And also considering that (too?) many of us are so pre-occupied with publishing our results in renowned journals that there is hardly any time to even think about how to best achieve impact in the 'real' world. Give it some thought...
And there is more food for thought and debate. Last week Pierre Lutgen shared with us a story about the effect of regular consumption of Artemisia annua tea as a prophylactic against malaria and he wonders when the World Health Organization is going to lift the ban on Artemisia annua. Read the story "Artemisia's incredible impact on health care costs" here. This week Pierre continues with a more scientifc story titled "Geophagia, Artemisia afra and Tuberculosis".
Then there has been an announcement from MESA about MLW being the first African research centre to share their portfolio of malaria reearch on MESA's open database. Read "Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) shares research portfolio on MESA Track database" here.
Enjoy this week's MalariaWorld - the MW team (and we look forward to receiving your manuscripts!).
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MLW has become one of the first African research centres to share their portfolio of research relevant to the malaria elimination and eradication agenda in the open database 'MESA Track'. This is all thanks to the close collaboration of the MLW team and especially of Anja Terlouw (Malaria theme lead at MLW) who said: "This is an important initiative that I am keen to support".
Malaria will feature as a key topic in the ECTMIH congress in Basel September 6-10. Topics will include:
- insecticide resistance
- drug resistance
- the importance of P. vivax
- implementation science
- drug delivery
as well as cross-cutting sessions on malaria transmission and malaria elimination.
Researchers are encouraged to submit there abstracts on line throug the ECTMIH website (link is external) before Thursday, 9 April 2015.
Last Friday the Washington Post published an article about fake peer review and how it has affected the UK publisher BioMed Central. At least 43 papers have been retracted so far and we have not found this list to see if it included papers published in the Malaria Journal or Parasites & Vectors. How is it possible that such scandals emerge, one could wonder...
The MalariaWorld Journal, now in its 6th volume, is the first truly Open Access journal with a focus on malaria. Where you don't pay to publish (authors) and you don't pay for access (readers). If you publish in the Malaria Journal, don't think its for free. You may not pay directly yourself, but your institutional library pays large sums of money for you to publish in that journal. True, they do give out waivers to developing country scientists, but at the end of the day it is all about money. And impact factors...
Lessons from the failed WHO Blue Nile Health Project in central Sudan, 1980-1990
Benito Mussolini was an Italian fascist dictator between 1922 and 1943. His quest to bring Roman glory to Italy brought his country war and misery. This is how we know him from the history books. What is less known is how Mussolini took important steps in the fight against malaria in Italy. Bill Jobin shares with us an interesting story about Mussolini's efforts to control malaria. Read Lessons from the successful national malaria campaign of Italy 1900-1962 here. An amazing story for sure.
The Duke Global Health Institute announces a postdoctoral fellowship, to start as early as June 1, 2015, for a minimum of one year, and renewable for an additional 2 years contingent upon performance and funding availability. The fellowship will focus on implementation science to address the problem of presumptive treatment of fevers with antimalarials.
The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) is excited to announce the Republic of India has joined the Network as a Country Partner in 2015.
How could a fascist dictator realize how to control malaria in Italy 80 years ago, when we can’t figure out what to do in Africa today ?
NOTE; He did it in 3 steps: larval source management with larviciding, improved housing and education, and finally medical treatment
In the latest Annual Report of PMI (April 2014), they cite the reduction in mortality rates of children under five as proof of the beneficial impact of the anti-malarial work of PMI. Figure 1 of the report cites the following figures for the 15 PMI focus countries which have the best data. However, as in the past, they have not done a comparison with other countries in Africa. The same is true in general of the reports from the Roll Back Malaria program. For some strange reason they don't want to measure changes in malaria prevalence.
Do any of you have experience with the Garki Project, to add to my comments below? I would especially appreciate comments from those of you who knew what the thinking inside WHO Geneva was, at the time.
What lessons can we learn from the failure of the WHO Garki Malaria Project in Kano, Nigeria, 1970-1980?
Driving the Best Science to Meet Global Health Challenges
The 9th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health in Basel, 6 - 10 September 2015
The Roll Back Malaria Vector Control Working Group (RMB VCWG) held its 10th Annual Meeting in Geneva, 28-30 January, 2015. Around 200 participants from endemic countries, research & academia, private sector and multilateral agencies attended the meeting.
Three MESA-funded projects in Cambodia, Kenya and Tanzania looked at what can be done to reduce efficacy decay of malaria interventions in different settings, and the feasibility of clearing parasites from asymptomatic people. As the projects wrap-up, the research groups are sharing findings with National Malaria Control Programmes, Ministries of Health, as well as national research networks.
SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO AVOID THE IMMUNITY TRAP
Inherent in a strategy which requires repeated application of temporary control methods, is the specter of the Immunity Trap. After several years of suppressing malaria transmission by temporary methods, if the methods are suspended for any reason, the previously protected population will be extremely vulnerable to acute disease and death because they will have lost their immunity. The longer the temporary methods are used, the greater will be the risk for the population to fall into the Immunity Trap.
SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO SLOW THE RESISTANCE TREADMILL
Mark Bennett passed away on 10 February 2015. Mark stood at the cradle of MalariaWorld. He will be missed and remembered.
Read below a tribute to Mark written by Julia Royall. Julia used to be the Director of the communications network of MIM (MIMCom) when she was the Chief, International Programs at NLM/NIH. Mark was appointed as Technical Director of MIMCom and helped 19 malaria research instutes in Africa to get (improved) access to the internet. His efforts have been invaluable to achieving free access to scientific information on malaria for all in need.
Last week the Roll Back Malaria Vector Control Working Group organised its 10th meeting in Geneva. Close to 200 vector control specialists from more than 30 countries attended the three-day event. What started as a small gathering years ago has grown to become what could be considered the equivalent of the annual ASTMH meeting but with an exclusive focus on vectors. And although this 10th meeting was ample reason for celebration, it wasn't. The meeting was officially addressed by WHO's Global Malaria Programme Director Dr. Pedro Alonso, who recently took office. His opening statements were clear: Insecticide resistance is as much a threat to continued successful malaria control, if not more, than the current Asian threat of artemisinin resistance. Pyrethroids were great and have undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives, but the era in which we could safely rely on them, is coming to an end. And that's bad news.
On the UK Parliament's 750th birthday, the All Party Parliamentary Group met to discuss collaborative initiatives in malaria research.
In the historic setting of the Palace of Westminster, on January 20th, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG) met to discuss collaborative initiatives in malaria research. Last year, the UK Government pledged to increase funding for the fight against malaria up to £500 million every year, a goal the APPMG hopes to see achieved in 2015.
On the UK Parliament's 750 birthday, the All Party Parliamentary Group met to discuss collaborative initiatives in malaria
Thanks to a collaboration with ASTMH, presenters and ImageAV, MESA has posted a selection of ASTMH webcasts on malaria elimination online. The webcasts are freely available here.
Sessions from ASTMH 2014 include
The column below was contributed by by Rasha Azrag & Guy Reeves.
As of December 2014, MalariaWorld, the world's largest and only online scientific and social network for malaria professionals, is celebrating its 5th anniversary. It's been an adventure that we never imagined would become what it has become today. Many of you will not know the history of MalariaWorld, so here's a brief summary.
In early 2015, the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) team will update the global P. vivax endemicity map (see 2010 map here) and use this to generate global estimates of clinical cases. The maps and case estimates have widespread policy and advocacy use, so it is important to make these as robust and up-to-date as possible.
We invite you to collaborate with the MAP team to ensure that the map is fully comprehensive by sharing any parasite rate surveys you have.