Your MACEPA Malaria Minute (3/24/17)

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

As Zambia moves toward malaria elimination, every case counts and accuracy in reporting is critical. At data review meetings, MACEPA supports the National Malaria Elimination Centre to build capacity among health clinic staff and community health workers to ensure quality data is gathered and reported. Below, Chikankata District participants watch a training video as a refresher on how to use mobile phones for malaria rapid reporting.

Photo: PATH/Stacey Naggiar

Below, MACEPA’s Elizabeth Chiyende works with the insecticide-treated net sub-group during Zambia’s Global Fund writing retreat to finalize the country’s funding request for 2018–2020.

Photo: PATH/Todd Jennings

In the news

The World Health Organization published A Framework for Malaria Elimination this week that includes technical guidance from MACEPA. PATH’s Larry Slutsker, who attended the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee meeting in Geneva this week, said both committee members and national programs showed great appreciation for the new framework.

A Japanese University is starting trials of a malaria vaccine in West Africa in May. In Burkina Faso, 153 adults, children, and infants will be enrolled in the trial to receive either a control tetanus vaccine or the experimental malaria vaccine meant to induce an antibody response to protect against malaria. (via Nikkei Asian Review)

The Visualize No Malaria partnership was a finalist of Fast Company’s first ever World Changing Ideas Awards. Selected from among over 1,000 entries and judged by 25 panelists, the use of sophisticated data visualization to map malaria hot spots earned a place among 3D-printed organs and a device called Flow Hive for easy beekeeping.

On Bill Gates contributed a blog about how “Cutting Foreign Aid Makes America Less Safe.” Through examples including the Ebola epidemic, polio eradication, and the HIV/AIDS effort, Gates demonstrates the impact that a small fraction of money has in protecting Americans from deadly disease while simultaneously building politically stable countries with more productive economies.

Gates met with President Trump on Monday, in a meeting closed to the press. A Gates Foundation spokeswoman said they were discussing matters related to US government development initiatives. (via Forbes)

Not everyone agrees with Gates. For an opinion piece in Humanosphere, London School of Economics anthropologist Jason Hickel and advocate Mark Kirk argue that the “…foundation’s rose-colored world view is not supported by evidence.” Specifically, the pair criticize the Gates for cherry picking data to highlight positive trends. Addressing systemic forces like tax evasion and intellectual property rights, they say, would be more valuable than foreign aid. “It is false to think that we can get lasting change by only speaking of what alleviates some of the worst suffering while ignoring almost everything that causes it.”  

PATH’s vice president of public health, Dr. David Fleming, wrote a piece for the HuffPost Project Zero Series urging the global health community to continue efforts to detect, treat, and eliminate neglected tropical diseases. “…It’s not the diseases that are neglected, but the people who suffer from them and are vulnerable to them,” he writes. He continues to say that not only do the world’s poorest people suffer disproportionately but that these diseases are preventable and treatable and eliminating them would make the world a safer place. 

Promising vaccine news for rotavirus, a diarrheal disease responsible for killing an estimated 600 children per day. In Niger, Doctors Without Borders ran a large trial of the freeze-dried, oral vaccine Rotasil, and found it to be 67 percent effective at preventing severe rotavirus-related diarrheal disease in children under five. Read more about the vaccine and next steps toward approval and distribution in the New York Times and on NPR’s Goats and Soda.

Tableau in Sinazongwe, Zambia

At a review meeting for malaria rapid reporting, Clarence Hamalala, the district health information officer in Sinazongwe, used Tableau visualizations to discuss the district malaria burden. Highlighting the hotspots enabled the district to discuss specific plans for reducing malaria.

Photo: PATH/Reine Rutagwara

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