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Can malaria be suppressed in the Congo River Basin without developing the Grand Inga Dam?

February 28, 2014 - 12:50 -- William Jobin

Greetings,

Despite real progress in much of Africa, the two big elephants left in the room are Nigeria and the Congo. Because of poor infrastructure, continuing civil war, and very unstable political conditions, it is hard to imagine how we can attack malaria in the Congo. Although the US PMI has added them to their list, we all know it will be a long time before anything significant can be organized there.

Organizing indoor spray programs or bednet distribution takes a stable MOH, and is difficult in the midst of civil war.

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.

Avez-vous travaillez avec le PMI en Afrique ? Have you worked with US Presidential Malaria Initiative for Africa?

February 21, 2014 - 13:00 -- William Jobin

Chers Confreres et Colleagues,

The US Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) began in 2005 in Angola. I helped start it, along with 2 other consultants for RTI the US contractor, and 3 malariologists from the Angolan Ministry of Health. Since then PMI has expanded to cover 21 countries in Africa. The contract passed from RTI to Abt Associates, and others.

If you do simple math, that means we have accumulated about 1,000 person years since then, in Africa, fighting malaria. What a tremendous resource! Are you one of those people?

The inherent waste in ephemeral methods such as bednets or indoor spraying, compared to the accumulating benefit of land reclamation

February 18, 2014 - 14:06 -- William Jobin

When Martinho Somandjinga, Manuel Lluberas, Joaquim Canelas and I started the US PMI in Angola in 2005, the excitement and pride of our accomplishments carried us along for the first couple of years. Sure we spent over two million dollars in one small province each year, but it seemed worth it.

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...

Column: Sleepless in the liver: would revisiting the past give any directions on how to deal with hypnozoite carriers of P. vivax?

February 6, 2014 - 20:51 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Many of the recent strategies to improve malaria control have been focusing on improving the detection of very low parasitaemias to identify asymptomatic carriers of Plasmodium sp. to reduce the infective reservoir. Although these strategies are extremely rational and sensible to tackle most of malaria infections, they will probably not be sufficient to achieve elimination for parasites that present relapses, as is the case for Plasmodium vivax. The need to look for new and sophisticated methods has been exhaustively stressed by researchers, however, at this time, revisiting a simple and efficient strategy successfully employed in the past could prove to be a path to be followed...

Malaria in Ethiopia, Jerusalem and Zanzibar

February 5, 2014 - 21:17 -- William Jobin

Malaria in Ethiopia, Jerusalem and Zanzibar

Eighth African Malaria Dialogue – Boston University USA 31 January 2014

Our informal African Malaria Dialogues started in the summer of 2012, meeting quarterly on the East Coast of the US in order to encourage interdisciplinary field research on African malaria. The dialogues are informally organized and participants cover their own costs for travel and meals. All are invited, and our next Dialogue will be in the Spring.

Please let me know if you wish to come. I will put you on our list.

Column: Nobody asked me, but …

February 4, 2014 - 19:52 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Malaria control is much more complicated and complex than can be highlighted within the confines of a few lines of text, but I need to share with you some of the things that make me wonder and keep me up some nights. I do not consider myself an alarmist, but as a public health entomologist there are a few things that concern me when I think of malaria control.
 

The World Malaria Report for 2013 paints an optimistic picture when it reports a fifty percent reduction in global mortality due malaria since 2000. However, the same report states that in 2012, “in 41 of the 103 countries reporting, which account for 80% of estimated cases, it is not possible to reliably assess malaria trends using the data submitted to WHO” as “information systems are weakest, and the challenges for strengthening systems are greatest, where the malaria burden is greatest.”...

Column: For sustainable control of malaria in Sudan: No more broken water pipes and water containers!

January 29, 2014 - 17:10 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Do you know what LBWPs means?! 
It is a common terminology between entomologists, health officers and other people working in mosquito control in Sudan and it means “Leakages of Broken Water Pipes”. I live in Omdurman City in Sudan and broken pipes were a common fact of life as I grew up. For writing this column, I decided to count the number of broken water pipes along the 20 km distance I commute to work; there were two. One was a large pipe alongside the main road and the other was inside my neighbourhood. This scenario reaches its peak in the winter, nowadays probably as a result of a decrease in demand for tap water and high water pressure inside pipes. Most visibly, broken pipes can represent breeding sites for mosquitoes...

Fake malaria drugs kill

January 29, 2014 - 14:26 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Stop the trade in fake malaria drugs and sign the petition at www.fakedrugskill.org

1/3 of all malaria drugs sold in Africa are fake. Criminals in China and India make huge profits from the illegal production of fake and counterfeit malaria drugs.

Watch the short films "Fake drugs kill" and " The story about fake drugs" here.

Submit your next manuscript to MalariaWorld Journal. It's free to read & free to publish

January 29, 2014 - 11:40 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

The MalariaWorld Journal is the first truly Open Access, peer reviewed, journal with an exclusive focus on malaria – where you don’t pay to publish and you don’t pay to read.

African Malaria Dialogue meets at Boston University on Friday morning 31 January 2014

January 26, 2014 - 00:35 -- William Jobin

You are invited to join us for an informal dialogue on African Malaria at the Pardee Center of Boston University, 67 Bay State Road near the Kenmore Square Station of the MBTA, We will begin with coffee and tea at 9:30 am. continuing until 11:30 when a simple box lunch will be provided.

Our host this time is Prof. Jim McCann of the African History Dept of BU. Jim has recently returned from Ethiopia where he and colleagues have been conducting field research on agriculture and malaria. Jim is also writing a book on malaria in Ethiopia which will soon be published.

Column: looking for good news on the road to zero malaria deaths

January 23, 2014 - 20:40 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar. 
Traveller, there is no road. We make the road by walking.
Antonio Machado (1875-1939)
 
By George Jagoe
 
In 2011, RBM revised one of its key objectives for the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP):  it called for reducing “global malaria deaths to near zero by end 2015”. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Robert Newman, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme commented:  “Reducing malaria deaths to near-zero is the right goal, a goal that we need to make every conceivable effort to achieve. But, let us be clear, it is also a wildly ambitious goal.” (1)

New WHO Collaborating Centre in Geospatial Disease Modelling

January 20, 2014 - 14:35 -- Bart G.J. Knols
The University of Oxford has received designation as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Geospatial Disease Modelling. Based in the Spatial Ecology and Epidemiology Group (SEEG) in the Department of Zoology, this new designation primarily recognises the contributions of SEEG to supporting the modelling, monitoring and evaluation activities of the WHO Global Malaria Programme.

What should we do: Peer review or not?

January 16, 2014 - 13:36 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The science world is undergoing rapid changes, and so does the field of scientific publishing. The Lancet recently featured five articles on the current value and reduction of waste in biomedical research. An article in the Economist from a few months before titled 'How science goes wrong' is another eye-opener. Clearly, much is changing in the science world, and this includes us scientists working on malaria.

Here we are asking for your views regarding an issue we are discussing for the MalariaWorld Journal, entering its 5th volume this year: Should we continue with peer review, yes or no, or should we perhaps make it optional?

Debate: adults or larvae?

January 7, 2014 - 13:15 -- William Jobin

Why are there two completely opposing views about the value of direct attacks on anopheline mosquito larvae or on adults, for suppressing malaria transmission ?

In recent public and written debates, I have seen diametrically and vehemently opposed views expressed on the value of attacking larvae through eliminating breeding sites, as opposed to the current emphasis on reducing biting by anopheline adults through bednets and indoor spraying.

Press release: Malaria Conference Will Look to Israel’s Past for Modern Solutions

December 8, 2013 - 15:23 -- Bart G.J. Knols
MEDIA ADVISORY
INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE
 
Malaria Conference Will Look to Israel’s Past for Modern Solutions
Techniques that worked decades ago could help stop the annual 660,000 malaria deaths
Experts, field workers and historians will gather Dec. 8-12 in Jerusalem
Forgotten anti-malaria pioneer and his innovations to be recognized

Hebrew University - Malaria conference (8-12 December)

December 5, 2013 - 10:57 -- Bart G.J. Knols

From 8-12 December, a conference titled 'Revisiting Malaria: Moving from Control to Sustainable Elimination' will be organised at the Hebrew University-Hadassah, Jerusalem, Israel.

The meeting conincides with the Centennial commemoration of the activities undertaken by Prof. Israel Kligler (picture, 2nd row, left), who was instrumental in eliminating malaria from Palestine. Malaria that in many ways was similar in intensity and impact as malaria seen in many parts of Africa today.

The meeting will be held in the form of a workshop and lectures, looking at past historical successes in malaria elimination, reviewing our current focus, and looking forward to identify what will be needed to move from control to sustainable elimination.

Also, workshop participants will work on scenario's for malaria elimination in island settings and ecological islands. The aim is to assist managers of NMCPs in moving forward in their country towards malaria elimination.

Participants have been selected from a variety of backgrounds that are considered essential in the planning and execution of operational malaria programmes.

Outputs from the meeting will be reported here on MalariaWorld, including a declaration by the participants.

The meeting is generously supported by the following organisations:

Kuvin Foundation, Braun School of Public Health & Community Medicine; Hebrew University, Faculty of Medicine-Hadassah; Hadassah; British Friends of Hebrew University; Pears Foundation (UK); Jewish National Fund/Keren Keyemeth LeIsrael; TEVA; and The Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases.
 

Fact or Fallacy? Vector control is a major part of malaria interventions.

November 18, 2013 - 09:15 -- Mark Benedict

It is often asserted that there are two malaria vector interventions in widespread use: long-lasting insecticide treated bednets (LLIN) and indoor residual insecticide spraying (IRS). Are either of these vector interventions? I’ll argue that the answer is, “No!” What does this mean for the development of new methods?

PAMCA: Win a student membership (deadline 16 December)

November 14, 2013 - 08:24 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Following a generous donation by Dr. Brian D. Anderson, the Pan-African Mosquito Control Association is pleased to announce an essay competition for award of 10 student memberships. The competition is open to African nationals studying an undergraduate or postgraduate programme at any higher learning institute.
 
Essays should be: a) written for a general rather than highly technical audience, b) on a topical issue concerning mosquitoes (which may include mosquito control or mosquito-borne diseases), c) maximum 500 words in either English, French or Portuguese. Essays will be judged based on topic, content and readability. The focus should be on creating an interesting and engaging short piece.
 
Student essays should be submitted to info@pamca.org by 16th December 2013. Undergraduate and post-graduate entries will be judged separately. Winners will receive one year of membership to PAMCA. Winning essays will be featured on www.pamca.org and MalariaWorld along with the student biography. Further details are included in the attachment. Queries should be directed to info@pamca.org
 
Remember to mention MalariaWorld when you submit your essay.
 
Best regards,
 
Dr Tessa B. Knox
PAMCA Communications

Resurging Malaria Catches Cameroon Napping

November 12, 2013 - 08:34 -- Bart G.J. Knols
The article below was contributed by journalist Ntaryike Divine Jr. (Douala, Cameroon). 
 
In 2008, the government of Cameroon engaged a policy-swing designed to irreversibly roll back malaria.  The strategy entailed providing free treatment for simple malaria for under-fives and pregnant women, a countrywide gratis distribution of treated bednets, as well as increased consciousness campaigns.
 
Initially, the Ministry of Health appeared to be winning the war against the bloodthirsty mosquitoes that have hemmed Cameroon among malaria endemic territories over the years.  In fact, earlier this year, officials were upbeat about sustaining the victory.    
 
“If we make a comparison between the current situation and what we saw in 2008, we note that malaria-related morbidity has dropped.  Related mortality among under-fives has decreased from 144 to 122 per hundredthousand thanks to actions taken by the Ministry and we’re lobbying for another campaign to distribute free bednets in 2014,” boasted Dr Etienne Fondjo, permanent secretary of the Program to Fight against Malaria.

MalariaWorld is looking for columnists (deadline 15 December)

November 7, 2013 - 21:58 -- Bart G.J. Knols

MalariaWorld is looking for authors to write columns about malaria - in the broadest sense. What we all read in scientific articles on malaria is only the tip of the iceberg when it gets to the world of malaria. Our malaria world is shaped by funding agencies, meeting outcomes, opinionated individuals and politics, but also you.

How to improve manuscript reviewing?

November 5, 2013 - 20:23 -- Bart G.J. Knols

MalariaWorld as of today has 8102 registered members. We continuously check the validity of your email address to make sure that we remain connected with you, so you and 8101 other subscribers receive the MalariaWorld newsletter every single week of the year. This November we celebrated our fourth year of providing services to you. This was also a time to once more review our progress, including the progress we are making with the MalariaWorld Journal. The journal is now in its 4th volume and it is maturing, but we identified some real difficulties, one of which I want to bring to your attention here: manuscript reviewing...

BVGH Recruits Dr. Linda Venczel as New Program Director

October 11, 2013 - 13:34 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Dr. Linda Veronica Venczel of Seattle has been appointed BIO Ventures for Global Healths new Director of Program and Partnership Management.  Most recently Dr. Venczel was Senior Program Officer, Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Deputy Branch Chief for Polio Eradication at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and International Advisor on Vaccines and Immunization for Bolivia at the Pan American Health Organization in Washington DC.

Message from the Pan-African Mosquito Control Association

September 18, 2013 - 15:54 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Dear Partners in Vector Control,

We are pleased to update you on the status of the newly-established Pan-African Mosquito Control Association. Comprised of vector control and research professionals from Africa and beyond, our membership base has been growing rapidly as we combine efforts towards an Africa free of mosquito-borne diseases.

We invite you to:

A must-see: Sonia Shah about malaria (TED)

September 12, 2013 - 20:34 -- Bart G.J. Knols

It is not very often that we see a talk exclusively on malaria at a global TED event. And now there is a new one. Anyone that has an interest in malaria by now should have heard about Sonia Shah. She wrote the excellent book 'The Fever' in 2010, a book that received praise around the world. Shah has now condensed the book in a 15 minute talk. She does so in a simple yet authorative manner that is clear even to someone that has never heard about malaria.

Basically she describes three reasons why it is so hard to tackle malaria in its heartland: Africa. First, the complexity of the disease and the challenges we continue to face to either combat the parasite or its vector make it a tough disease to conquer. True. Parasite resistance to drugs, vector resistance to insecticides, the difficulty of making a potent vaccine, it all adds up to what may seem an impossible task. Second, she talks about economics, the costs involved and the lack of the myriad of resources needed (health facilities, trained staff, control personnel and so on) to do a thorough job. Again true. And third she talks about indifference and the fact that malaria is as engrained in developing country nations as a simple cold or flu in the North. Hmmm, food for thought.

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