By Stacey Naggiar
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
World Malaria Day in Senegal
More from World Malaria Day in Pikine, Senegal, where MACEPA joined Speak Up Africa and community champions to discuss good public health practices and malaria prevention. The celebration also included a bednet distribution.
Photos Courtesy of Abdoulaye Diop/Speak Up Africa.
In the news
An international research collaboration has confirmed a decades-old hypothesis about the diversity of the malaria parasite, finding that it is, in fact, very diverse. Looking at genetic fingerprints of malaria in 200 infected children in Gabon, researchers found that none were the same and that a particular set of genes called “var genes” make it possible for malaria to re-infect the same person over and over again. Researchers say their findings have implications for how experts model malaria transmission and therefore how to approach control strategies (via MedicalXpress). Also covered by Futurity and Bloomberg, which explores how these findings relate to the challenges associated with the quest to find an effective malaria vaccine.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative is launching a network of malaria-dedicated community health workers (CHWs) in Panama to assist in the countries’ goal of elimination by 2020. With the burden of malaria mostly in rural neighborhoods the hope is that training CHWs to test, treat, and report cases of malaria will reduce the burden.
On MalariaMatters.org this week: Rwanda’s celebration for World Malaria Day and a survey of insecticide-treated net use in Malawi. Despite increasing coverage of nets from 2004 to 2010 in Malawi, household ownership did not increase between 2010 and 2015. Evidence from a government survey suggests this could be due to too few nets available rather than issues with distribution. For World Malaria Day, Rwanda focused activities in the high incidence Southern Province and shined a spotlight on the work of community health workers.
A new study from ISGlobal points to the old anti-malarial drug chloroquine as a potential “new” tool to fight malaria. As evident in some regions of Mozambique, chloroquine-resistant malaria parasites have reduced, meaning it may be effective if used in combination with other drugs “to boost elimination efforts.”
At a recent TED conference in Vancouver, Stanford scientist Manu Prakash (inventor of the paper centrifuge) told the audience about his new product Abuzz—software that captures mosquito wing-beats via cellphone microphones and identifies locations of disease-carrying mosquitoes. “Pull out your cellphones and fight the deadliest animal in the world,” Prakash said. (via Wired.co.uk)
Dr. Raj Panjabi wants to improve the training and capabilities of community health workers in Liberia. The founder of Last Mile Health and winner of the 2017 TED annual award is starting the “Community Health Academy” where CHWs will have the opportunity to engage with tablet-based health-education tools. (via NPR’s goats & soda)
Ten times more sensitive
The first-ever rapid diagnostic test (RDT) to screen for malaria in asymptomatic individuals has been introduced in Zambia through the CoRE project in Southern Province. Alere’s RDT is ten times more sensitive for detecting malaria than existing brands on the market. Detecting every last case of malaria is a significant challenge for eliminating the disease but arming health workers with stronger diagnostics means it is more likely that all cases will be found and treated, ultimately breaking the transmission cycle. PATH’s Market Dynamics team was involved in the clinical evaluation and technical support of this project.