By Sarah Pickersgill
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
Western Province welcomed several new cohorts of community health workers (CHWs) as training for community malaria case management of actively and passively detected cases (the full scope of which is called “Step D”) continued in Senanga and Mazabuka this month. MACEPA, working closely with provincial and district staff, is making sure these new CHWs prepare detailed field reports, are trained to administer rapid diagnostic tests and make malaria diagnoses, and are motivated to end malaria in their communities.
Pictured below, CHWs review field reports in Senanga after their practicals. Also pictured is instructor Joshua Milambo with a group of passionate CHWs-in-training. During their practical the team diagnosed and treated 87 positive malaria cases in their locality.
Evidence for impact
PATH representatives made us proud at the Evidence for Impact Symposium last week in Lusaka. PATH’s booth, complete with engaging videos and live mosquitoes(!), attracted crowds in between panel sessions. Masaina Bwakya, Monica Mutesa, Mazininza Beatrice Kawana, John Miller, Evans Mwape, Caroline Phiri, and Rick Henning represented PATH on a number of panels discussing a wide range of topics from maternal and child health to malaria. Thanks to everyone for the fantastic showing!
In the news
A human antibody and a unique binding site tested in mice shows fresh promise for malaria protection in humans. The new research, published in Nature, showed that the CIS43 antibody binds to surface proteins that are almost universally found in malaria. Scientists are currently investigating whether this antibody could be directly administered to humans as prophylaxis and/or treatment or used to develop a new vaccine. (GeekWire)
Last week, Melinda Gates sat down with Ezra Klein from Vox to discuss gender and technology, food security, and you guessed it, malaria. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-founder talks genetically modified mosquitoes, advances in mapping and modeling, and shared her optimism in seeing the end of malaria in her lifetime.
WhatsApp is quickly becoming an important tool in health care communications. Its low cost, large user base, and other popular features are making it the preferred communications platform in development programs. Health workers are already forming their own WhatsApp peer-to-peer coaching, communities of practice, and support networks. (IntraHealth)
The government of Uganda has taken ownership of the implementation of indoor residual spraying (IRS) in ten districts. It was reported that, under government control, the IRS program is costing significantly less money. Some districts reported as much as a Shs700m reduction in spending as compared to when it was implemented through partners. (Relief Web)
PATH gets a shout-out this week in Computer Business Review from the CEO of Exasol (a Visualize No Malaria partner). Exasol CEO Aaron Auld discusses the role big data can play in saving lives. “Data-centric methodologies can – and should – be used to help people live better, healthier lives.”
A study conducted at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil shows that triclosan, an antimicrobial compound used in many common toiletries can inhibit target genes in the malaria parasite. The compound also performed well in tests against resistant parasites the study shows.
Scott Matafwali, a pharmacist and staff development fellow at the Copperbelt University in Zambia discusses both the potential and the danger in the utilization of new CRISPR-Cas technology in the Zambia Daily Mail. Although this gene editing technology could be an effective new tool in combating diseases like malaria, HIV, and others, Matafwali warns that off-target effects and other unintended consequences need to be more thoroughly explored.