By Sarah Pickersgill
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
On Tuesday, a Global Fund Grant Confirmation signing ceremony took place in Lusaka, Zambia. In this new grant, the Government of Zambia will receive approximately $270 million to combat HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria over the next three years (2018–2020).
In attendance were the Minister of Finance, Felix Mutati; the Minister of Health, Chitalu Chilufya; Global Fund Head of Grant Management Mark Eddington; and UN Country Coordinator Janet Rogan along with permanent secretaries and representatives from a number of partner organizations.
“These grants that we’re discussing today aim to avert 80,000 new HIV infections by 2020, and by 2021 reduce the number of TB deaths by 40 percent compared to 2015. That’s ambitious. These grants will also contribute to Zambia’s ambition to elimination malaria by 2021, which involves reducing malaria-related deaths by 65 percent,” said Eddington, who went on to stress the importance of improving the security of supply chains in order to achieve these goals.
Globally, since the end of 2014, 7.3 million people accessed lifesaving antiretroviral treatment through Global Fund-supported programs, 12.3 million people were tested and treated for TB, and 450 million insecticide-treated nets were distributed to protect families from malaria. (ZNBC)
In the news
Hopes are high for the roll out of the RTS,S malaria vaccine this year that will see 360,000 children, aged between five months and 17 months, receive a series of four doses. Based on data from the previous trial, statisticians estimate that this pilot will save one child’s life per 200 vaccinated. (The Economist)
Intensive use of pesticide is driving a genetic evolution of resistance in mosquitoes. Mosquitos are adapting to insecticides in several ways—mutations in the insecticide target site, mutations that boost the activity of enzymes that degrade the insecticide, and behavioral changes. “These changes are occurring at the molecular, physiological and behavioral level, and multiple changes are often happening at the same time. With the accessibility of DNA sequencing we can now pinpoint these evolutionary changes at the genomic level,” says Colince Kamdem, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside. (Technology Networks)
NBA superstar Stephen Curry is making a donation to malaria relief with every sale of his new shoe. Need new kicks? Team up with Curry to donate an insecticide-treated bednet with your purchase of the limited-edition “Nothing But Nets” sneaker. (The Star)
Ugandan software engineer Brian Gitta, along with six student friends, has developed a low-cost, reusable device that can test for malaria in two minutes, without drawing blood. Matibabu—“medical center” in Swahili—clips on to the patient’s finger and detects the magnetic waste created by the malaria parasite. The team has seen several successes—winning the UN Women’s Empowerment award, competing in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, and being been shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa prize for engineering innovation. (The Guardian)
Washington Zhakata, director of the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Water Resources, Development and Climate in Zimbabwe, points to climate change as playing a major role in the resurgence of malaria in Zimbabwe. Intense rains have brought more mosquitoes to Mutare, resulting in increased malaria deaths. (Reuters)
Studies show that substandard and counterfeit anti-malarial drugs contributed to an additional 72,000 to 267,000 deaths in sub-Saharan Africa annually. Moreover, substandard and counterfeit prophylaxis or treatment can give the parasite a chance to become resistant to the real medicines. (Deutsche Welle)
After studying 262 Plasmodium falciparum parasites, a group of researchers published their findings in Science recently. The group grew parasites in a toxic environment and sequenced the genomes of the tolerant parasites to identify drug resistance genes that popped up over and over again. Their findings point to possible targets for the development of new drugs. (STAT)
Despite rapid, world-wide urbanization, mobility and access are still major barriers to healthcare for many people. A new map, developed by researchers from Google, the Joint Research Centre of the European Union, and the University of Twente, shows how long it takes people around the world to travel to the nearest city. (My Modern Met)
More from Zambia
The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has approved HIV vaccine and malaria control trials to be undertaken by the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) and Macha Research Trust respectively. Macha Research Trust will carry out research in a contained facility in Choma, Southern Province, on malaria control prospects with engineered symbiotic bacteria from mosquitoes. (Lusaka Times)
A study on the effectiveness of an anti-malaria paint in Mansa, Luapula Province, Zambia has been approved. The study is being sponsored by JICA in partnership with Kansai Paints. (Lusaka Times)
The cholera outbreak in Zambia continues—infecting around 2,840 people so far with more than sixty of them dead (Lusaka Times). In response, the Government of Zambia has launched a campaign to vaccinate 1 million residents of Lusaka against cholera with support from the World Health Organization and partners (ReliefWeb). Check out Bill Brieger’s blog for more on cholera prevention and control: lessons learned from Tanzania.
Cross Border Malaria Initiative, with funding from Isdell and Flowers Foundation, has announced plans to scale up behavior change strategies in efforts to end malaria along border areas of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Angola. (Lusaka Times)