ON THE GROUND: Dr. Bernhards Ogutu

November 6th, 2009 § 5

The Affordable Medicines Facility-Malaria to begin delivering subsidized ACTs within two weeks

November 6th, 2009 § 1

The Affordable Medicines Facility – malaria (AMFm) program, hosted and managed by the Global Fund, will deliver subsidized artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to select countries within two weeks time. As a result of negotiations and larger, direct payments to manufacturers, malaria drug prices will be reduced from$6 to 40 cents per dose through AMFm. Countries selected to participate in the program, originally announced in April, are: Benin, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

The announcement came from the 5th Pan-African MIM Conference in Nairobi on Monday. Experts hailed the drug-delivery decision as key to eradicating malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read the full article here: http://globalhealth.kff.org/Daily-Reports/2009/November/04/GH-110409-Malaria-Conference.aspx

ON THE GROUND: Dr. Wilfred Mbacham

November 6th, 2009 § 1

Dr. Wilfred Mbacham, of the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon, will take over as Executive Director of the MIM Secretariat in January 2011. He discusses his impressions of this year’s MIM meeting, and how the malaria field can move forward over the next three years — until the next MIM Pan-African conference.

ON THE GROUND: Dr. Salim Abdulla

November 6th, 2009 § 1

Dr. Salim Abdulla, Director of the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, discusses the development of RTS,S — the world’s most advanced malaria vaccine candidate — which is now in phase III trials.

African Malaria Research Initiative Moves to Cameroon

November 6th, 2009 § 1

Location expands opportunities for central African and French-speaking scientists.

Nairobi, 6 November 2009 – Yaoundé, Cameroon will be the next site of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) secretariat. Wen Kilama, representing the current host of MIM in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, made the announcement at the conclusion of the world’s largest scientific conference on malaria, here in Nairobi. The move to Cameroon is anticipated to occur in January of 2011.

MIM is a network to build capacity among African scientists to conduct malaria research. It was established in 1997 with the support of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom, the Swedish International Development Corporation (SIDA), and TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases executed by the World Health Organization. The organizing secretariat was first set up at the Wellcome Trust in London, then Fogarty International Center at the NIH in the U.S., then the Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University in Sweden.

“We are very proud to have been the first secretariat in Africa,” said Wen Kilama, Managing Trustee for the African Malaria Network Trust (AMANET) and host of the MIM secretariat since 2006. “And we are happy to pass on this tradition to another African institution.”

The Cameroon site in central Africa, whose main languages are English and French, offers access to more Africans due to its bilingual status. This location at the Biotechnology Centre of the University of Yaoundé 1, working in coordination with the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, was selected from a competition of three proposals. Professor Rose Leke will serve as Chair of the MIM Secretariat.  Dr. Peter De Vries will be the Deputy Chair, and Dr. Wilfred Mbacham the Executive Director.

“MIM has brought a lot to African scientists,” said Professor Leke. “We want to build on this in our bilingual country, consolidating MIM achievements as well as expanding into new areas. For example, we would like to help researchers communicate findings better,  increase research that provides evidence for healthcare policy, and encourage more Africans to utilize the tools of genomics.”

From a small meeting of 90 scientists—30 from Africa—in Dakar, Senegal in 1997, MIM has evolved into the largest malaria research meeting in the world, with more than 2000 scientists participating in this year’s meeting in Nairobi. The vast majority of attendees were from Africa.

Together with organizations like Roll Back Malaria Partnership, MIM has helped raise awareness of the need for research on malaria to develop the new tools and strategies necessary for improved control.

MIM has provided research grants to investigators in more than 18 African countries, training, a repository of malaria samples for research, and internet and other communications connectivity to African researchers and institutions.

Under the AMANET leadership during the last five years, the MIM secretariat developed the Central African Network on Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria (CANTAM), which is cultivating clinical research capacities in the Republic of Congo, Gabon and Cameroon. Professor Francine Ntoumi, who has been the MIM secretariat coordinator for the last two years, will continue as coordinator of CANTAM.

PHOTOS: RTS,S malaria vaccine clinical trials

November 5th, 2009 § 3

PHOTOS AND VIDEO: Advocates call on President Obama to increase commitment to Global Fund

November 5th, 2009 Comments Off

On Wednesday, Kenyan advocates outside of the Kenyatta International Conference Center chanted, “Yes we can! Yes we can! We can stop AIDS, TB and malaria.”  The purpose of this protest was twofold: to thank Kenya’s most famous son, President Obama, for his contributions to the global fight against these three diseases and to call upon him to finish the job by increasing United States’ financial commitment to the Global Fund.

To see a picture from this event, check out image number 10 on the Wall Street Journal photo blog: http://blogs.wsj.com/photojournal/2009/11/04/pictures-of-the-day-296/.

MALARIA NO MORE: Mwea Mission Hospital: Helping Themselves

November 5th, 2009 § 1

Mwea Mission Hospital: Helping Themselves

5 November 2009

By Jessica Uno

Jessica Uno is winner of the World Briefing: Telling the Malaria Contest co-sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation and Malaria No More. Her winning essay earned her a trip to cover the MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference in Kenya and report back on the latest in the global effort to end malaria.

Once we arrived at Mwea, we met Dr. John, director of the Vector Control Center at Mwea Mission Hospital. The outdoor hospital is four hours away from the next hospital and served a large patient body. The large rice paddies in that region force hospitals to be far apart. Dr. John and Jane told us about how they had reduced malaria occurrences to almost 0% in the area surrounding the hospital, through a combination of prevention and treatment measures. They pushed large campaigns to encourage the community to consistently sleep under pesticide-treated bed nets and made sure powerful ACTs were readily available for those with malaria. A large problem in applying our existing tools for fighting malaria is patient compliance. You can give a bed net to family, but if left alone, families will often misuse them or use them inconsistently. The same goes true with ACTs – often patients feel better after a day or two of treatment and stop taking their medicines. Creative strategies are necessary to motivate consistent net usage and compliance with malaria treatments. One of Mwea’s strategies includes portraying nets as “fashionable,” by having respected community leaders show friends and families that the frequently using nets are critical to avoiding mosquitoes. Malaria is preventable and not a fact of life, using the slogan “mosquito out, we are in the net together!” Rather than imposing the nets on the community, Mwea Mission Hospital was successful in encouraging net use in culturally sensitive, sustainable ways that actively involved community members.

After this discussion, we were given a tour of the laboratory. Two of the technicians demonstrated how they test patients for malaria parasites by examining their blood samples under the microscope. Sitting in the middle of a table in the room was a box containing dozens of tiny Anopheles mosquitoes that the laboratory used to study Plasmodium and to train community members in identifying and diagnosing malaria parasites in blood samples. I had never seen an infected Anopheles mosquito, and I was simultaneously repulsed and awed. Then, to my shock, one of the technicians actually mouth-pipetted a few mosquitoes into a tube for us to see. He showed us how to identify the male and female mosquitoes (the males are smaller and have little beards on their mouthparts). There was also a small tub of water where Anopheles larva wriggled and waited to turn into winged adults. Alongside the larva, I noticed a snail floating in the water. Turns out they also study the snail-borne parasiteSchistosomiasis, another danger to workers in the rice paddies. I got really excited because the laboratory where I study malaria at UC San Francisco also focuses on Schistosomiasis. Except when they keep live specimens of the parasite, they are locked in a biohazard room and everyone always wears gloves before going anywhere near the infected snails. I was very impressed at the operations of this Mwea laboratory because they accomplished so much training, diagnosis, and research with a tiny fraction of the equipment I’m used to having in UC San Francisco’s laboratories.

We also talked to Jane about the health education projects she leads at local schools. She discussed some effective strategies for motivating both children and their parents to follow good anti-malarial habits and talked about how their programs encouraged children to take an active role in malaria prevention. This is part of a larger effort to inspire the next generation to take on malaria rather than accept the disease as unstoppable. Children produced beautiful art and poetry through various contests themed around malaria at the schools, some of which had grown into national contests bringing together children from different regions. Malaria education also gave children an opportunity to learn about future career options, like becoming lab technicians or doctors. Jane exemplified how communities are using malaria to create opportunities for growth, unity, and action independent of foreign aid.

Jessica’s trip to Kenya was supported by Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation and Malaria No More.

This blog entry was originally posted on Malaria No More’s Malaria Policy Center, wh ich can be accessed here: http://malarianomore.org/blog/?p=2000.

MALARIA NO MORE: Student Reporting from the MIM Conference

November 5th, 2009 § 1

Student Reporting from MIM Conference

5 November 2009

By Jessica Uno

Jessica Uno is winner of the World Briefing: Telling the Malaria Contest co-sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation and Malaria No More. Her winning essay earned her a trip to cover the MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference in Kenya and report back on the latest in the global effort to end malaria.

I am fortunate to be at this conference attending fascinating presentations and meeting so many incredible players in the malaria scene. The opportunity to learn about their experiences and motivations has taught me so much about malaria in just a few days. One of the first admirable individuals I interviewed was Caterina Capaccioli, head of Strategic Planning & Execution, Malaria Initiatives at Novartis. Caterina introduced me to the role that collaboration among different organizations — corporations, nonprofits, African ministries of health and others — have played in successfully reducing the malaria burden. For example, Novartis has worked closely with the Chinese government to develop effective innovations. Another example is the partnership between bed nets organizations like Malaria No More and those who produce and distribute antimalarial treatments, pairing prevention and treatment. One major advantage to such collaborations is the greater number of skills and resources available to unite against malaria. Combining unique specialties among partners is necessary when facing the constantly evolving malaria threat. A united front is much stronger and efficient than many individual efforts.

Jessica’s trip to Kenya was supported by Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation and Malaria No More.

This blog entry was originally posted on Malaria No More’s Malaria Policy Center, which can be accessed here: http://malarianomore.org/blog/?p=1978.

ON THE GROUND: Dr. Timothy Wells

November 5th, 2009 Comments Off

Dr. Tim Wells, Chief Scientific Officer at Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), discusses the development of new drugs for malaria, and the ultimate goal of eradicating the disease.