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Bart G.J. Knols's blog

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not particularly flexible nor quick enough to spot and correct some of these failures before international support was withdrawn [2]...

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...

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: 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.
 

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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