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E-interview with Dr. Silas Majambere (Burundi, 1975)

September 23, 2015 - 12:59 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Dr. Silas Majambere is a medical entomologist who took up the position od senior scientist with the Innovative Vector Control Consortium recently. MalariaWorld asked Silas about his past work and future ambitions in the field of malaria elimination.
You have been working directly in the field of operational malaria control in The Gambia using larval control. What is your current opinion on the role of larval control? Is it indeed a matter of ‘few, fixed, and findable’ sites or is there a wider role for larval control?
I have spent four years in The Gambia investigating the role of larviciding for malaria control. The program covered 400 km2 of floodplains with ground teams of spraymen applying Bacillus thuringiensis Israelensis (Bti) weekly to all water bodies we had previously mapped. This was indeed hard work at +40 degrees Celsius, and I commend the team that took the task. Unfortunately we only had a small impact on adult mosquito density and were not able to show a reduction in malaria prevalence following the larviciding program.
There were two main reasons we were not able to show impact: (1) the extent of the floodplains is simply too large to spray by ground teams, unless bigger teams are deployed; (2) Gambia river is highly tidal and Bti is likely to have been washed away after application.
Larval source management (LSM) has a role in malaria control, and it is not just my opinion, but it is historically proven (Brazil, Israel, USA, etc.). Although I understand the caution around “few, fixed and findable”, those terms are very relative and should not distract us.
Many African countries have adopted LSM for malaria control, and it is one of the tools in their Strategic Plans. While the scientific community is debating, the train has moved, and we’d better catch up and support the countries adopt best practices for LSM, including robust monitoring and evaluation, and use of WHOPES recommended products. With the technology we have today, I believe we can design better LSM programs than 80 years ago in Brazil.

The making of a PNAS's our story

September 3, 2015 - 20:35 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Once a scientific paper is published online and you can download a pdf of it, this addictive and magnificent feeling gets on to you. This is the fruit of all the hard work: first to get the funding to undertake the research, then the hard work to actually perform all the research, then the hard work to write up the manuscript, then the submission, the reviews, the rebuttal, and eventually acceptance followed by proof reading and then publication. The route from thinking up research to publishing about it is long, tedious, and really hard work. But why don't we ever talk about this route? Why do we publish our papers but don't tell our peers more about how we got there? The fun parts, the sweat and tears, or even the fights? This week we published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS; attached below). And here's the story you don't know when you read the paper...

President's Malaria Initiative (PMI): Country insecticide susceptibility summaries

July 17, 2015 - 08:25 -- Bart G.J. Knols
This contribution was provided by Dr. Christen Fornadel, Senior Malaria Vector Control Specialist at PMI.
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has made increasing investments in entomological monitoring across all 19 program countries in order to monitor the effects of two of PMI’s four main interventions, distribution of long-lasting, insecticide treated bed nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS), both of which are aimed at controlling mosquito populations. Both of these interventions are insecticide based, so as they are scaled up, one can expect to see changes in the species composition of the vector population and possibly changes in malaria mosquito behavior. But most importantly, we have already seen and are likely to continue to see changes in mosquito susceptibility to the insecticides used on LLINs and for IRS. As malaria vector control has escalated across Africa, so have the number of reports of pyrethroid resistance in both major vector groups, Anopheles gambiae s.l. and An funestus s.l., and today it is rare to find sites in Africa where one or both these vectors do not show some level of pyrethroid resistance. The global community spends hundreds of millions of dollars on malaria control, so it is important to make sure that we are doing entomological monitoring to see that our investments are making an impact, and that those resources are not wasted.

Thank you, Margaret!

June 17, 2015 - 19:51 -- Bart G.J. Knols

We have shown a talk by Margaret Heffernan before on the MalariaWorld platform. And again, in a talk she gave in May this year at TEDWomen 2015, she hits the nail on the head, also for us malariologists. That's why we show her talk here...

Imagine your research lab, or your University department, think about your professor and colleagues and the way you work with them. Think about the pressures and frictions that are there when it gets to doing research, to publishing (authorships!), and once you have done that, watch this video. We hope you will feel inspired afterwards!

MalariaWorld has been nominated for a social media award 2015: please endorse us!

June 10, 2015 - 19:47 -- Bart G.J. Knols

There is great news for the MalariaWorld community, and particularly for the team that has worked for the last six years to provide you all, every week of the year, with the latest information on malaria. Somebody (thank you, whoever you are) nominated one of the MalariaWorld Founders (me) for the 2015 Social Media Awards 'Malaria Heroes'. I do not consider this as a personal nomination, but as a nomination for the entire MalariaWorld team. Many of our >8600 members know me, but there are people behind the scene that make this work what it is. We have Patrick Sampao, Kabogo Ndegwa, and Stella Chege in the Nairobi office of MalariaWorld. They perform all the searches and collate it in such way that you receive it nicely on Friday morning when you open your email. They are our 'Silent Malaria Heroes', and have been so for six full years already. Then there are volunteers working for the Dutch Malaria Foundation that manage subscriptions (Monika Bongers) and extend the reach of our communication through social media outlets. With a Facebook account and three Twitter accounts, we're busy. Busy to get that vital piece of information out to you. And now we have been nominated...

Comment for Malaria Action Plan GMAP2

April 4, 2015 - 19:21 -- Clive Shiff
As a comment to Bart's Blog, I would like to add our thoughts as requested by the Secretariat. The document was sent in before the deadline, so I hope it was read, and raises some thoughts. 
GMAP2 Document
Based on the consultative process so far (regional consultations, national and community level consultations, online survey responses, in-depth interviews, and a document review) seven areas where the GMAP2 document could usefully provide recommendations for action have been identified.

Scandal at BioMed Central: 43 papers retracted

April 2, 2015 - 16:53 -- Bart G.J. Knols

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...

Introducing Open Access may not believe it, but its true!

March 26, 2015 - 22:22 -- Bart G.J. Knols

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...

Survey: Identifying effective methods for promoting idea generation and innovation among early-career health researchers in low and middle income countries

March 11, 2015 - 21:26 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Dr. Fredros Okumu of the Ifakara Health Institute has started an online survey to identifying effective methods for promoting idea generation and innovation in public health.

Should we declare a state of emergency?

February 5, 2015 - 21:38 -- Bart G.J. Knols

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.


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