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ANNOUNCEMENTS:::

TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

MAGAZINE EDITIONS

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  • Eighth Edition

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  • Special Edition

  • INESS Edition

  • Tenth Edition

  • INDEPTH Edition

  • Eleventh Edition

  • Twelfth Edition

  • Special Edition

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  • Volume 1

  • Volume 2

INDEPTH Network: Leading the fight against malaria

Having observed millions of people in Africa, Asia and Oceania, INDEPTH Network is showing the proper way to free up communities from diseases while targeting malaria as the greatest nuisance of all.

Through the years, the Network studied the right way to  prevent  malaria,  confirm suspected cases, cure patients and go the extra  mile in  monitoring  the  efficacy of drugs  and the  response of patients to medication.

The International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and their Health (INDEPTH) covers key malaria areas  including epidemiology, malaria control, advocacy and  behaviour  change, effective practice, elimination and eradication.

INDEPTH  has contributed chiefly  to  the training and re-tooling of local experts to gather  and  link  vital  information  about people in low and middle income countries (LMICs), addressing the  health and demographic needs of communities.

In 2012, its achievements were captured in a report by the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) titled “The Contribu- tion of the  INDEPTH  Network to Malaria Research:  Synthesis of Research  Evidence Published between 1998 and 2009.

The report showed that between 1998 - 2009, the INDEPTH Network compiled a database  of 2517 peer reviewed  articles from the member centres, out of which 201 were devoted to various aspects of malaria.

Since 1998, copious research has been done in tropical diseases like malaria, sickle-cell and tuberculosis.

With  a  ruthless  killer's  status,  malaria received a lot of attention from INDEPTH's scientists and researchers.

The heavy focus on malaria culminated in the  involvement of  African scientists and researchers in  the  development  of the world's  first vaccine against the  dreaded disease.

The INDEPTH Network was established in 1998 and has 43 members monitoring new health threats, tracking population changes through  fertility  rates,  death rates  and migration, and  measuring the effect  of policy interventions on communities.

The umbrella organization of health  and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS) centres  operating  mostly  in  malaria-endemic areas, shares its information with policy-makers for a better management of malaria control programmes.

In what is known as an African solution to an African problem, INDEPTH pooled scientists and researchers to form the Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance in 2006 to launch a malaria vaccine development project.

INDEPTH  began  by mobilizing  skilled research personnel and  recruiting field workers and  trial  participants, for the research involving almost 16, 000 children.

The project gave the world great hope with the RTS,S vaccine (also known as RTS,S/AS).  The RTS,S candidate vaccine was found to be promising. Studies showed that it protects young  African children  against malaria infection and a range of clinical  illnesses caused by Plasmodium falciparum transmitted by the anopheles mosquito.

The  RTS,S  is  the  first  malaria  vaccine candidate  to  reach  large-scale Phase III clinical testing (the last stage of development  before   regulatory file submission), which has been underway since May 2009 in seven African countries  (Gabon, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Burkina Faso).

The MCTA project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates  Foundation,  helped solve problems like inadequate staffing, congested laboratories, poor infrastructure and  unskilled manpower at the various research centres.

The  availability of a  safe and  effective malaria vaccine has the potential to greatly reduce the  malaria burden. Most of  the research carried out in INDEPTH Network centres focused on the  first  and second categories of vaccines.

There  is no vaccine for malaria  and  the disease killed an estimated 660,000 people last  year and  left  250  million  people seriously ill.

INDEPTH and partners are still working on different types of malaria vaccines including those targeted at blocking malaria transmission.

TAKING IT FURTHER
The efforts to  check malaria have  shown results where existing tools  like  bed nets, indoor residual spraying, (IRS)  a n d artemisinin-based  combination  therapies (ACTs) were employed rationally.

The review of INDEPTH Network's contribution  to  malaria  research for the period  1998  to  2009  uncovered vast knowledge  on the  changing  patterns  in transmission; incidence of clinical disease in some sites in sub-Saharan Africa.

It  also showed the  significant  impact of malaria  control  interventions  such  as insecticide  treated  bed  nets  (ITNs) and artemisinin-based combination  therapies (ACTs).

 Globally, malaria death rates have been cut by 26% in 2000-2010,  due to  increased investment in combating the disease.

While this is pleasing enough, key contributors  are  questioning  why  there  is  no evidence of a rational  use of the  current tools against malaria.

Not enough anti-malarial bed nets paid for by the UK are being used around the world, ministers have been warned.

The UK has funded 25 million mosquito nets since 2010 but the  National Audit Office said usage among target  groups, such as children, was disappointing.

The World Health Organization has warned of a $2.8bn shortfall in  global funding to tackle the disease, regarded as one of the biggest health and economic challenges for countries with high rates of illness.

It has been argued that the target for 80% of children under-5 five to sleep under bed nets by 2015 was in danger of being missed.

To remedy the situation, aid recipients are being encouraged to "change attitudes" and to ensure proper value for money.

Also, better  monitoring is needed of  how many nets were used and how  long they lasted.

There is a key role for INDEPTH in this to stimulate better  use of existing tools. For example, INDEPTH  studies  showed that social marketing of ITNs led to higher overall levels of coverage in the lowest socioeconomic groups and in those  living on  the periphery of villages.

INDEPTH  research showed that  behavior change  communication  (BCC) has to  be employed in the larger context of information, education and communication (IEC) to make more impact against malaria.

People in endemic communities  need  to embrace and safeguard the bed net as a life-saver. Ironically, this life-saver theory was interpreted to mean “earn a living in farms and rivers,” where the bed net is misappropriated for fishing and protecting seedlings.

It is comforting when experts say malaria can be defeated with the current available tools, but then again you get dismayed to know this depends on the strict and rational use of bed nets and drugs. The truth  is  it  has  never been  easy  to convince people to behave rationally, at all times.

But  one thing  is  certain,  that  thanks  to INDEPTH there is a lot  more information and evidence on the surest way to overcome the  ruthless  killer, as prescribed by great thinkers and the World Health Organisation.

This provides renewed hope, that  even if malaria  deaths  do  not  end  in  2015,  its elimination is achievable in the near future.

The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) is slowly facing the reality that governments need to take ownership of malaria control programmes,  manage it accountably and sustain the gains made against malaria over the last decade.

ALMA can begin by ceasing to rely heavily on donors. Africans  must  find  solutions  to African problems.

The Abuja declaration of 2000 to increase investment in malaria control was not met. However, African leaders in 2013 have made the “Abuja+12” declaration committing to ensure  a  universal  coverage of malaria testing, treatment  with efficacious  drugs and monitoring patients on medication to track interventions.

Without a doubt, this show of political will can also give researchers at INDEPTH the needed  elbow grease  to  give  malaria  a knockout punch.
 

Editions: 
INDEPTH Edition