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.
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...
We know some really good things about suppressing malaria in Africa. Suppressing malaria boosts the productivity of adults, so they can grow more rice, maize or corn. Suppressing malaria saves the lives of children whom we cherish.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
As the Keystone symposium on the science of malaria eradication has come to an end, the one thing I regret is that I wasn't there to participate. It undoubtedly must have been an exciting meeting, which is clear from the messages we received from the MESA group (read them here).
There are several recent papers examining the way that the US gradually suppressed and then eliminated malaria from the southern states which were sub-tropical, and also from the northern states in which summer-time malaria had always been a problem.
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.
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.”...
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.
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.
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?
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.