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African Malaria Dialogue features 2013 Jerusalem Declaration

June 23, 2014 - 11:36 -- William Jobin

African Malaria Dialogue features 2013 Jerusalem Declaration about fighting Malaria in Africa

Dialogue on 18 June 2014

Our usual informal luncheon turned out even better than expected. We met in the outer courtyard of the restaurant ‘Au Bon Pain’ in Harvard Square of Cambridge, Massachusetts, on a beautiful summer day.

Column: Bad science is just filth in the brain!

June 19, 2014 - 20:05 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Bear with me…. This complaint is not new, I know, but it is one that should be reiterated many times over: there is an extremely large gap in knowledge between researchers and the general public, and this is not good!
 
Certainly you must have come across people’s scientific ideas on trams, buses and trains (for those of us who do use public transport) or maybe at a dinner party or BBQ you are attending, or even, like I did, while waiting for your take-away food. The topics that come up more often are related to nutrition (it seems that the 5:2 diet is all the rage right now), the benefits of certain exercises (how billions of people are alive today without ever having done Yoga is perplexing to some) and more and more, the dangers of vaccines. In all of these discussions, give or take, the ‘science’ facts that are discussed are simply quick scans of a newspaper headline or maybe the first paragraph of the news article or worst, a facebook post on a friends wall that was read last night or this morning. Somehow, these quick, unreferenced, snippets of information get stuck in people’s minds and actually help set the foundations to very strong opinions. Usually, pathetic ones...

Column: How fragile we are

June 19, 2014 - 19:47 -- Bart G.J. Knols
So you live in South Sudan. Your nation exists for just less than two years, but unfortunately has been the scene of rivalry and outspoken conflict. You, together with hundreds of thousands fellow countrymen have had to flee. You have arrived in Ethiopia, after a difficult journey partly by foot and partly by boat. You have arrived in Ethiopia, you are safe.
 
Ethiopia has arranged for refugee camps sites to be set up to accommodate many of you. Unfortunately, the area is seasonally affected by malaria. And although you are very familiar with the dark side of malaria, it is the least of worries to you now. You have to get registered; you need to get food, cooking materials, and accommodation. Accommodation is a big word for the variety of tents, tukuls, plastic sheeting and other forms of shelter you see. But you collect what you can, and you get a net...

Sudden jumps in per capita cost of US PMI operations

June 19, 2014 - 15:18 -- William Jobin

In April the US PMI issued their 8th Annual Report to the US Congress on their malaria suppression operations in Africa. In the first table of the Appendix One of this report they gave their total expenditures for Africa, and also the coverage they had in each country with their spray operations. Adjusting these figures to reflect only their African operations, it appears that there have been two sudden jumps in their per capita costs.

Who keeps track of it all? We're seeking nominations!

June 12, 2014 - 20:26 -- Bart G.J. Knols

As a malaria professional you are supposed to keep track of what is happening in our field. That's nothing new. As scholars, researchers, policy makers, doctors, students, etc. we read about new developments, we read scientific articles, and follow the news. And in doing so we are familiar with who is doing what, follows what approach, and is seeking for new solutions to end our common enemy. Again, that is nothing new. But allow us to challenge you... 

Column: Malaria in Shakespeare’s land

June 12, 2014 - 20:01 -- Bart G.J. Knols
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....”. Although actually this is one of the most famous introductions of the history of movies (and I am pretty sure that most of my readers have recognized it), this is also, in many senses, the way many health professionals think about malaria. Many western doctors and nurses see paludism (malaria) as a remote and tropical disease, even covered with a flavour of romanticism. The truth is that malaria has been prevalent in areas as far north as the city of Groningen (at 53º North) in Holland and has been active until the last decades of the 20th Century in countries as, among many others, The Netherlands, Spain or Australia. In some instances, as Spain or Italy, malaria was not completely eradicated until the 50s or 60s. For example, a breakout of indigenous cases of malaria was confirmed as late as 1972 in Corsica, the French Island of the Mediterranean Sea.

MIT Alumni suggest Exit Strategies for Malaria Suppression in Africa

June 12, 2014 - 11:42 -- William Jobin

MIT ALUMNI SUGGEST MALARIA ELIMINATION STRATEGIES FOR AFRICA

7 JUNE 2014

At a Reunion of the Class of 1959 in June 2014 under the Great Dome of MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, several suggestions were developed for an Exit Strategy from the fight against malaria in Africa. Malaria currently kills about a million Africans per year, mostly children who succumb to the extreme fevers transmitted by night-biting mosquitoes.

World Cup and malaria

June 10, 2014 - 15:19 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Roll Back Malaria today released a small video about football player Didier Drogba - who suffered malaria and is now an ambassador for our cause.

We ask our readers: What do you think of this video? Will it serve its purpose? Will it reach its target audience?

We are curious to know your thoughts. Is this good money spent on advocacy or a simplified message only mentioning nets?

The social press release is attached to this blog.

Column: No Substitute for Local Expertise

June 5, 2014 - 17:25 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
A regional powerhouse in operational malaria research, training and policy
 
A three year old boy cowers behind his mother, looking up at me with tears in his tired eyes. I quietly greet his mother in Chichewa, the language common to the Southern region of Malawi. It takes time to gain an audience not only with this tiny, frightened child, but also with his mother. I smile, being sure not to reveal my teeth, surely to bring on further tears and sit next to her on the bench in our workspace. She smells of wood fire kitchen smoke and sweat from her 5 kilometer walk to our malaria research center at the District Hospital in Machinga, Malawi.

Exit strategy for conquering African malaria

May 22, 2014 - 21:30 -- William Jobin

If we limit ourselves to the conventional approaches to fighting malaria - drugs, bednets and biocides - the future looks bleak. It looks like an endless war. The war started about 1950 when DDT and chloroquine looked like perfect weapons. But since then the development of resistance has shown us how ephemeral they were. The mosquitoes began to eat DDT for breakfast, and the malaria parasites learned to swim in chloroquine. Historians are showing us that malaria has incredible tenacity in Africa. We long for a solution to this horrible problem - an Exit Strategy.

Column: Could Gorgas succeed in the 21st Century?

May 22, 2014 - 20:53 -- Bart G.J. Knols
This year marks a century since the official opening of the Panama Canal, one of the most iconic structures, one of the greatest engineering feats of all times, a symbol of technological prowess and ingenuity, and a testament of the sheer determination of the human spirit. While commemorating the monumental accomplishment embodied in this gigantic undertaking, we should take a pause to remember the thousands of lives lost during its construction to accidents and mosquito-borne diseases.
 
Besides the sheer magnitude of the project, one of the greatest challenges the builders of the Panama Canal faced was dealing with mosquito-borne diseases common to the area. When the United States took over construction of the Panama Canal on May 4, 1904, the Isthmus of Panama was under the firm control of tropical diseases. By then, approximately 12,000 workers had perished during the construction of the Panama Railway and over 22,000 during the French attempt to build the canal. Many of these deaths were due primarily to yellow fever and malaria. In fact, construction of the Panama Railway was stopped several times due to the lack of healthy workers. American project managers quickly realized that previous disease control efforts were ineffective and something had to be done. Armed with the information provided by Sir Ronald Ross in India in 1897 that malaria was spread by mosquitoes, mosquito control methods were implemented as part of the Panama Canal construction project...

Malaria eradication: Doing it better the second time round

May 22, 2014 - 20:40 -- Bart G.J. Knols
This guest editorial was contributed by Dr. Carlos Chaccour - he and his team are currently running an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to further develop ivemectin as an anti-malaria strategy. Visit the campaign's website by clicking here.
 
The eighth World Health Assembly took action to “help put an eventual end to an ancient problem. Malaria, the single most serious worldwide communicable disease…” [1]. The meeting took place in Mexico in May 1955. In exactly a year we will mark the 50th anniversary of the launching of the Global Malaria Eradication Programme (1955-1969). Several reasons have been given for the failure of this multinational endeavour to achieve its primary goal. Vertical structures, a lack of community integration and the (almost) exclusive use of indoor-residual spraying are some of them. The resulting program was not particularly flexible nor quick enough to spot and correct some of these failures before international support was withdrawn [2]...

Second paper on economic benefits of malaria suppression

May 13, 2014 - 17:12 -- William Jobin

Greetings,

I appreciate the publication of my first paper on economic benefits from suppressing malaria in Africa, printed in the MWJ of 2014 v5 n4 and cited on the MWJ webpage. I demonstrated that the return on investment in malaria suppression was about 6.5 to 1, a really good investment, don't you think?

Column: The IPCC, malaria and climate change: neither scaremongering or ignorant

May 8, 2014 - 18:51 -- Bart G.J. Knols
I freely admit that I have not read all 2155 pages of the draft report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released last month. Furthermore, I am not an expert on global climate change. However, motivated by this report and a recent comment posted to MalariaWorld entitled ‘IPCC, malaria and climate: scaremonging or ignorance’ (1), I will try to relate the IPCC assessments of climate change to malaria and the future...

Column: Mass Drug Administration – A Kaleidoscope of New Opportunities?

May 5, 2014 - 20:19 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Mass Drug Administration (MDA) is a tantalizing tool that can support elimination efforts and help dramatically knock down malaria prevalence.  Why isn’t it more widely used?

by George Jagoe

The use of medicines on a mass scale to wipe out parasite reservoirs and improve individual patient health status is enormously appealing.   The annals of public health victories show how judicious mass-drug-administration (MDA) has rolled back the burden of horrific parasitic diseases (e.g. river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma).    At its best, MDA marries the optimal use of effective drugs with well-coordinated delivery to improve disease outcomes radically...

Jerusalem declaration on malaria elimination in Africa

April 24, 2014 - 19:46 -- J20 Jerusalem Conf

Almost a century after Dr. Israel Kligler initiated a malaria elimination campaign in Mandate Palestine, the undersigned met in Jerusalem to honour his exemplary approach that consisted of an integrated attack on malaria that ultimately led to its disappearance. 
In many ways, the disease burden of malaria in Africa today resembles that of Palestine when Kligler first arrived. His success – a toolbox that included larval mosquito control, swamp drainage, quinine prophylaxis and treatment, community education - played a major role in making the Holy Land habitable and productive.

Why this 2013 Jerusalem conference?

April 24, 2014 - 19:46 -- J20 Jerusalem Conf

Learning from Success

Over the past 60 years, conferences on malaria have increased from maybe one per decade to multiple conferences annually. The 1950 Kampala Malaria Conference set the parameters for the 1955 Global Malaria Eradication Programme, followed 40 years later, 1992 and 1996, with the meetings in Dakar and Amsterdam that galvanised WHO and international support to eradicate malaria. Roll Back Malaria, the Global Fund, the Gates Foundation and other major international donors took us to the 21st century goal of malaria elimination. 

Conference opening program & sponsors

April 24, 2014 - 19:44 -- J20 Jerusalem Conf

Rubin Hall, Forchheimer Student Center, Ein-Kerem Campus, Jerusalem

8:30-9:00 Coffee/Tea (reception area adjoining Rubin Hall)  
9:00-9:30 CONFERENCE OPENING - GREETINGS:

  • Prof. Yehuda Neumark. Director, Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Dr. Sanford F. Kuvin. Founder & Chairman of the International Board, Sanford F. Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Prof. David Lichtstein. Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Dr. Rob Dixon. Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy in Israel
  • Dr. Gabriel E. Alexander. Jewish National Fund/Keren Keyemeth LeIsrael

This week it's World Malaria Day: Read the Jerusalem Declaration on Sustainable Malaria Elimination in Africa

April 22, 2014 - 19:00 -- Bart G.J. Knols
This week it's World Malaria Day. A day during which, around the world, activities are undertaken to raise awareness for our cause: a world free of malaria. A day to reflect: How are we progressing towards our goal? A day to talk to our friends about what we do - raise awareness. A day also to celebrate the successes of the last decade - no doubt, these are impressive. But also a day to tell the world that without investments, serious investments, progression towards global eradication will slowly grind to a halt. A day to appeal with our governments and other funding bodies that the challenge is still huge, but that we cannot give up. We started with the 'e-words' in October 2007 in Seattle, now we have to live up to our pledge...

Column: What do health professionals in Europe know about malaria? ‘Part I: European statistics’

April 10, 2014 - 20:00 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Four years ago, after working for six years as a hospital and pre-hospital emergency doctor in Spain, I accepted a position as a remote site doctor in Sierra Leone. Until then malaria was an obscure, almost phantasmagorical, condition to me.

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.
 

Column: Social values & beliefs: the key to successful malaria prevention?

March 23, 2014 - 08:46 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
Do social norms and cost sharing matter in obtaining community buy in and adding value to health commodities? An excerpt from the field with emphasis on community based participatory methods and insecticide treated bed net (ITN) usage.
 

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...

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