By Sarah Pickersgill
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
MACEPA Zambia returned to Siavonga to screen the The Malaria Movie, a film produced by MACEPA last year, for community members in five villages across the district. The team also shared a brief IRS video to prompt a conversation on indoor spraying. In total, more than 1,500 people joined to watch the film and to discuss ways they can prevent malaria in their community. Interviews with attendees provided useful insights into some of the specific challenges to eliminating malaria in the district.
Beauty Mutumwa (below, left): “We need something to protect us from malaria when we are not sleeping. I like ITNs [insecticide-treated nets] but we are often bitten while cooking or chatting with the family before we retire to bed. Our home has never been sprayed. Last year, spray operators didn’t spray our home because we had a six-month-old baby.”
Wilson Tolo: “I like The Malaria Movie because we can learn about keeping healthy and also dance. I see a lot of people during this activity.”
Mass drug administration round 2
The second round of Mass Drug Administration has begun in Zambia! Teams are back at it in Southern and Western provinces, aiming to reach the 238,254 people who took part in round 1.
Haggai Hanene: “Are there pills to also protect our cattle from malaria?”
In the news
Researchers from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine sequenced the DNA of 765 wild Anopheles mosquitoes taken from 15 locations across eight African countries. This work created the largest data resource on natural genetic variation for any species of insect. They found that the Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes were extremely genetically diverse, enabling the rapid evolution that helps this vector develop insecticide resistance so quickly. (Reuters)
The Economist takes a look at one possible reason for the stall in progress of malaria elimination efforts: indoor residual spraying (IRS). The most recent World Malaria Report states that the proportion of people at risk of malaria who are protected by IRS has fallen from 5.8 percent in 2010 to 2.9 percent in 2016. One deterring factor may be the rotation from pyrethroid insecticides to more expensive alternatives.
More than 180 scientists, malaria program leaders, and policymakers from around the world have come together to update the research agenda for malaria elimination and eradication. The “malERA Refresh” special collection comprises seven papers in PLOS Medicine that outline a forward-looking research and development agenda to accelerate progress in the malaria fight. (Medical Xpress)
WHO released a statement this week reporting that 1 in 10 medications in low- and middle-income countries are either substandard or falsified. Antibiotics and antimalarials are among the most commonly reported. WHO is partnering with other international organizations, engaging all sectors that can help in combating fake medical products. (STAT)
Two malaria pieces from the Hindustan Times—first, on the importance of a robust monitoring and surveillance system, especially in cross border areas like Kazungula. Second, an interview with Chief Mukuni, discussing the dedication to malaria elimination in his district. He’s quoted, “Malaria is curable and stoppable. One death is too many.”
Devex takes a look at how Zambia’s national program is tailoring malaria interventions depending on the level of the malaria burden. This in-depth piece also examines Zambia’s community health worker network, issues of cross border transmission, and funding gaps.
A urine test for malaria has won the Innovation Prize for Africa from the African Innovation Foundation. The foundation seeks to increase Africa’s prosperity through investing in home-grown innovations and entrepreneurship, strengthening African innovation ecosystems. The winning urine test can detect malaria in less than 25 minutes without a blood sample. (The Punch)
Dueling podcasts this week on the use of drones in malaria elimination efforts. Check out Tech Stuff Daily and the BBC for more on how drones are being used to monitor mosquito breeding patterns, deliver testing kits, and more.
In Ghana, ten private sector companies received “Malaria Safe” awards for their contributions to the fight against malaria. At the official national launch of the award, the companies were rewarded for the innovative ways in which they have contributed to malaria prevention among their employees and by way of their corporate social responsibility. (Graphic)