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    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.


    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.


    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.


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Lilongwe comes Alive

By Callisto Sekeleza-Malawi

The morning  of October  26th,  2011 was  not  just another morning in Lilongwe. It was one which saw an  invitation of community  leaders  from around the Malawian capital to hear the release of the initial results of  the RTS,S candidate malaria vaccine  trial.

Indeed,  this was  the  occasion  that made  their  hearts beat with uncertainty as to what the outcome of the trial that started in July 2009 really meant. Obviously, some had  already  heard  the  results  through  other  media outlets.
However when the community department team at the UNC site told the gathering that the results showed that malaria cases  in children between 5-17 months could be reduced almost by half with the 55.8% efficacy outcome, hearts seemed to settle down although many were lost as  to what  this meant.

“The results basically mean that  if a child suffers from malaria  four  times  in  a  year,  the  chances  of  them suffering  have  now  been  reduced  and  they may  now suffer only two times which is better, knowing the effects of  malaria  on  young  children,”  Allan  Jumbe  a  nurse- clinician at the Centre who was the key speaker  told the gathering.

However  some  wondered  why  the  vaccine  could  not reach a 'better' efficacy like 80% and above so that there would be better assurance of getting  rid of malaria as one Village Headman, Yonam Mbali pointed out.

But, Jumbe further   explained that although others may take the efficacy figure as a small one, this trial vaccine  was a milestone since several efforts made in the past could not yield  results as  the RTS,S had.

Another  speaker, Mercy  Tsidya, who has been  leading UNC Project field workers during  recruitment of the study participants,  thanked  the  community  leaders  for  their support during  the early phase of  the  trial.

“We  all  know  that  it  has  been  challenging  to  convince parents to bring their children into the study. While others accepted  entry  into  the  study  easily,  some  spread rumours about our organization, saying we were satanic and would use the blood samples taken from the children for  evil practices. We are  glad  that  you  the  community leaders assisted us in getting rid of such wild rumours,” said Tsidya.

Her words were echoed by Bryson Kapopo of Mtsililiza who said  this was exciting news and  those who spread rumours against  the  trial would now be ashamed.

“Actually some of them started realizing that the trial was a good one and started persuading community leaders if they could allow their children to join the trial but it was already  late as  recruitment had stopped,” he said.

In  the course of  the  trial, community  leaders had  to be called to the Centre on two occasions and taken round on a tour so as to prove wrong the 'bloody' rumours that were spreading around.

According  to Principal  Investigator  for  the Lilongwe  site who is also Country Director for UNC Project Prof. Francis Martinson the news  is cause for celebration among the communities.

"The results give hope to everyone because the mothers and children who rush to central hospitals, some of them unconscious and sweating are so many. People are now starting to appreciate that there is light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

The Lilongwe site has enrolled 1,628 children in both the 5-17 months and 6-12 weeks age  ranges  in  the RTS,S candidate vaccine  trial.

According  to  the  National Malaria  Control  Programme, malaria transmission in Malawi is mainly determined by climatic  factors  like  rainfall, humidity and  temperature. Malaria and anemia are estimated to be responsible for about  40 %  of  hospitalization  and  30%  of  all  hospital deaths  in under-five children  in Malawi.

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