By Sarah Pickersgill
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
A crucial step on the path to elimination is aggressively finding and treating new infections as soon as they arise, and this drive to detect and eliminate malaria in Zambia (as guided by the National Malaria Strategic Plan) has gained momentum. A team from the Program for the Advancement of Malaria Outcomes (PAMO), a USAID-funded PATH Zambia malaria project, joined trainings in Nkeyema in Western Province and Kalomo in Southern Province to observe first-hand how this works.
Left to right: Bright Katai from PAMO, the chief environmental management officer from Luapula Province; Mateyo Moyo and Sarah Shankwaya from PAMO share in conversation during the Kalomo community health worker training.
In the news
After the worst floods in a decade, thousands in Nepal and Bangladesh are suffering from diarrhea, malaria, and dengue. Although no epidemic has been reported yet, health officials are monitoring conditions in flood-affected areas to spot possible outbreaks. (via Reuters)
Heavy rains and floods are catalyzing the spread of malaria in Murnei camp for the displaced in West Darfur, Sudan. In addition to the heavy rains, collapsed housing and a lack of medicine are adding to the increased malaria transmission. (via AllAfrica)
New findings published in The Lancet have identified a form of malaria parasite that is spreading from howler monkeys to humans in Brazil. Additional studies to establish whether this is the simium parasite or whether it might be a reservoir of vivax in Brazilian monkeys are needed, especially in addressing concerns for eradication of the disease in Brazil and beyond. (via The Guardian)
A four-year-old Italian girl has died of cerebral malaria in northern Italy, a region free of the disease. Claudio Paternoster, an infectious diseases specialist at Trento’s Santa Chiara Hospital commented that “It’s the first time in my 30-year career that I’ve seen a case of malaria originating in Trentino.” (via BBC)
With support from PATH’s BID project and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tanzania will pursue the first digital health investment strategy of its kind in the region. Efforts to build a strong, centralized, routine data ecosystem and avoid health verticals and duplicative systems position Tanzania to be a global leader in using better health data for better health outcomes. (via Devex)
A new study published in the Malaria Journal takes a look at private retail outlets and the role they play in providing anti-malaria drugs. Though the WHO recommends a confirmed diagnosis before treatment, the study found that only 49 percent of patients had undergone such testing.
Combining microbiology with engineering technologies, researchers from Florida Atlantic University are developing a 3D model of the human placenta. By using this 3D model, scientists are hoping to overcome a number of ethical and accessibility-related challenges inherent in studying the biology of the human placenta.
Increasing research on mosquito behavior is leading scientists to continually rethink the vector control strategies we utilize today. Research is showing the potential for spatial insecticides to be useful in the fight against various vector-borne diseases. (via BioMed Central)
Tune in to BBC’s Health Check this week. Among other topics, Claudia Hammond discusses how graphic design can save your life. A new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London highlights graphics and visuals from health campaigns around the world. The collection includes a tombstone from a British campaign to improve awareness of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and pill packets created by an Israeli designer using simple shapes and colors to help reduce errors when medicines are dispensed. Color alone can also influence. The world’s ugliest color—a sludgy brown—has been used on cigarette plain packaging, to discourage smoking.
Making the Case for Private Sector Engagement in the Fight Against Malaria: John McMannis, communications manager at Friends of the Global Fight, discusses the impact of malaria on businesses’ incomes.
Emmanuel Phiri with Western Provincial Medical Office, MACEPA’s Kafula Silumbe, and Jeremiah Njovu from the Mulobezi District Medical Office gather information on introducing mass drug administration in Western Province, Zambia, later this year.