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William Jobin's blog

Will malaria suppression cause malnutrition?

June 6, 2016 - 12:57 -- William Jobin
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The great benefit in saving so many children by suppressing malaria, might have a negative consequence - malnutrition. As more and more children survive, who will feed them? This reflects the classic dilemna enunciated by the Rev. Malthus some centuries ago. He saw it as a race between population growth and growth in food supply - with the food supply losing. Do we face that same dilemma when we suppress malaria? Let us look at some recent data from Africa.

Malaria suppression improves economic productivity

June 6, 2016 - 11:32 -- William Jobin

In a recent Comment - Does malaria cause poverty or vice-versa? Patrick Sampao explored the relation between malaria and poverty. In accord with his opinions, and in agreement with our dear friend Anton Alexander, I posted three comments, based on statistical analyses of the impact of the US Presidential Malaria Initiative. The comments show us some really Good News about suppressing malaria, especially in Africa where the data is robust. Please take a look at the comments. It is kind of heavy reading but I assure you, it is worthwhile.

When will permanent methods be added by PMI?

March 11, 2016 - 14:43 -- William Jobin

In a recent analysis of the US Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) by Richard Oxborough, it was pointed out that indoor spraying is being reduced and even abandoned as a control measure because of resistance to the cheaper insecticides. In Angola, they have completely abandoned indoor spraying as a method. The newer insecticides are too expensive.

It is alarming that now the only effective control method available is drugs. What will happen when drug resistance spreads? Is PMI prepared for this?

Is genetic modification of anophelines the way to start elimination of malaria?

January 27, 2016 - 18:48 -- William Jobin

From the recent reports out of California and other places, it appears that anophelines can be genetically modified so that (1) they are no longer susceptible to plasmodium infections, and (2) their progeny will be all males! If this can be developed for field use, it looks to me like it is the Beginning of the End of malaria in Africa. But I am an engineer with no experience in genetics. Do you think that this technique can be developed for field application?

Help me - Was 2015 the beginning of the End?

December 30, 2015 - 15:34 -- William Jobin

A recent report from a laboratory in California offers the hope for a method of genetic modification which could lead to species elimination from large geographical areas, such as Anopheles gambiae elimination from Africa. To quote the New York Times Science section of 22 December, “A gene drive designed to render a population extinct is known as a crash drive. A crash drive being developed for mosquitoes consists of a gene engineered into the Y chromosome that shreds the X chromosome in the cells that make the mosquito’s sperm, thus ensuring that all progeny are male.

Solar powered fans, LED lights and mosquitoes

October 14, 2015 - 18:02 -- William Jobin

We need ways to improve the use of bednets because they are so hot to sleep under, and a group in Ghana is working on this. Peter Nardini and some friends from the US Peace Corps are testing a way to sleep comfortably under a bednet by installing small solar-powred fans inside the nets, along with lights and cell-phone battery chargers. Their website is 'Green World Health Net', and they are doing exciting things with these ideas, in a village on the coast of Ghana. You can contact them for info at;

Eradication or suppresion?

September 21, 2015 - 11:36 -- William Jobin

What are the benefits of eradicating malaria, compared to suppressing it?

Eradication is a distant goal, perhaps one not attainable in our lifetime – perhaps never. Even its definition is somewhat vague, as there are so many forms of malaria. However suppression of malaria transmission is real and immediately attainable, something we are actually doing right now, in various degrees.

Why can't WHO give out accurate data about bednets ?

September 19, 2015 - 20:14 -- William Jobin
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This month’s report by WHO/UNICEF on ‘Achieving the Malaria MDG Target’ indicated that over 50% of Congolese children sleep under bednets. However these overly optimistic assertions are contradicted by a careful malaria survey conducted in 2007 in 8,000 households in the Congo, which indicated a blood-slide positivity of 33.5% and only 7% of children sleeping under bednets (Molecular malaria epidemiology…… by Taylor et al DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016420.

Dams can be operated in ways to prevent disease, especially malaria

September 11, 2015 - 16:18 -- William Jobin

I fully support the conclusions of Solomon Kibret and colleagues about the health impact of dams in the tropics, especially regarding diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and aquatic snails.
REF just published in Malaria Journal - Malar J. 2015; 14: 339. Published online 2015 Sep 4. doi: 10.1186/s12936-015-0873-2 PMCID: PMC4560078
The title is : Malaria impact of large dams in sub-Saharan Africa: maps, estimates and predictions
by Solomon Kibret,corresponding author and Jonathan Lautze, Matthew McCartney, G. Glenn Wilson, and Luxon Nhamo.

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