Your MACEPA Malaria Minute (2/9/17)

By Stacey Naggiar
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow

Watch this television advertisement from the Zambian Ministry of Health—a sensitization tool to encourage households to participate in the national indoor residual spraying campaign.

In the news

The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) recognized seven countries (Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Swaziland, and Uganda) last week for progress they’ve made toward malaria elimination. Joy Phumaphi, executive secretary of ALMA, said key interventions that have proven successful include providing bednets and spraying insecticide in over 80 percent of homes, training community health workers to test and treat for malaria, and improved surveillance and data collection. (Via Thompson Reuters Foundation)

The Washington Post writes about the growing concern of drug-resistant malaria parasites and insecticide resistant malaria carrying mosquitoes. The article points to genetically modified mosquitoes and emerging vaccine candidates as potential solutions to the impending malaria crisis and calls for continued resources and attention to the disease.

Billionaire Aliko Dangote (also Nigeria’s malaria ambassador) and President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf co-authored a piece in the Namibian Economist looking toward an African continent free of malaria. Acknowledging that the “last chapters of our fight will be the most difficult yet” they call on African leaders from public and private sectors to come together in commitment for elimination.

Australian researchers have discovered that inflammation from malaria in pregnancy disrupts an important signaling pathway that is responsible for fetal growth. This new understanding of how malaria and low birth weight are linked gives physicians an opportunity to target the disrupted pathway with supplements and therefore restore normal growth. (via XiahuaNet)

Artemisinin drug resistance poses an urgent threat to malaria elimination in Southeast Asia. Experts described the window of opportunity as “limited.” In response, the Regional Artemisinin Initiative (RAI) is working closely with the Global Fund to address the issue in a number of ways such as reaching remote and mobile populations and closing gaps in supply chains. (via Thompson Reuters Foundation)

A lesson in thinking outside the box and applying business principles to global health problems: a contest run by Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management tasked MBA students with reducing infant mortality rates associated with umbilical cord infections in Nigeria. The winning students targeted locations with the highest mortality rates and used community engagement techniques to educate health care workers and new parents about applying disinfectant to umbilical cords. They also offered rebates to pharmacists as an incentive to maintain stock of chlorhexidine. (via NPR’s Goats and Soda)

In the field (Senegal edition)

Top picture: in St. Louis, northern Senegal, health worker Ndeye Fatou Cissé delivers a message to a community. Bottom three: to reach parts of St. Louis, health workers travel by ferry, canoe, and motorcycle to bring health messages to communities and ensure that they receive care.

Visualize No Malaria

Calling all volunteers. DigitalGlobe, a leading provider of high-resolution satellite imagery, has joined the partnership for the Visualize No Malaria campaign. Together with the Zambian Ministry of Health, PATH, and Tableau, the project is asking for volunteers to map structures using computer software from the comfort of their own homes. The mapping data will be added to the Tableau platform being used by Zambian health officials as a decision-making tool in malaria elimination.

Exasol is another new partner on board the Visualize No Malaria campaign. The high-performance in-memory analytics database developer (what?!) enables health officials using the software to work with massive amounts of data at speeds that allow for real-time analysis (ok now I get it). Read more about Exasol’s role in Visualize No Malaria on Inside Big Data and Business Cloud

Left: Jeff Bernson, PATH Director of Results Management, Measurement and Learning. Right: District health officers doing an activity with Tableau software. Photos: PATH/Stacey Naggiar

Zambian provincial and district health officials gathered in Lusaka last week for a surveillance training, specifically tracking follow-ups to positive cases. This data, soon to be part of the routine community information submitted monthly, will provide an important performance metric for surveillance.

The meeting was also an opportunity for the participants to test drive dashboards created with the data visualization software, Tableau. The Ministry of Health and PATH are working with Tableau on a partnership called Visualize No Malaria. The initiative takes complicated surveillance data from communities and facilities and transforms it into simplified charts, graphs, and maps. Armed with this information, health providers can make timely decisions about where best to deploy resources in order to achieve the goal of malaria elimination.

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