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The Latest Edition of "Eyes on malaria" magazine will be out very soon!! | CALL FOR ARTICLES: AMMREN is inviting journalists / writers / scientists interested in reporting on malaria to send articles for publication in its international magazine “Eyes on Malaria” and for posting on its website. Please contact the AMMREN Secretariat for more details click here. Enjoy your stay!. Volunteers and interns urgently needed to work with an NGO working in the area of malaria and health. Apply through - ammren1@gmail.com / ammren1@yahoo.com. Journalists interested in reporting on and writing articles on health issues should please reply through this email: ammren1@gmail.com

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.
     

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  • Volume 1

Time to pause and reflect

Clare Banoeng-Yakubo - Ghana

The clock had been ticking away without much notice. But the steady movement of the seconds and minutes had ushered in the countdown. It was the final day of work at the MCTA and each staff including the Project Manager Prof. Fred Binka was locked up in his or her office trying to do what was required to see the MCTA project wind up.

At exactly 7 am the offices were opened and work had started in earnest. In Ghana official working hours begin at 8.00 am but at the MCTA, work begins at 7 am for the Project Manager and his staff.

The invasion of the premises of the MCTA by AMMREN was for a purpose; to show gratitude to MCTA for supporting AMMREN since 2006 and for helping to bring AMMREN to where it is today. They were also there to find out what next for AMMREN after the MCTA winds up since the end of MCTA does not mean an end to the malaria fight. The need to find out what opportunities were there for AMMREN after MCTA was critical.

   AMMREN Ghana Co-ordinator Clare Banoeng -Yakubo  presenting certificate to 
Prof Fred Binka. Looking on is Mrs Charity Binka, AMMREN’s Executive Secretary

Rightly so, when the team had access, the pleasantly surprised Executive Director, after listening to the mission of AMMREN, said the visit was most appropriate and welcoming. He had apparently been appending his signature to a number of reports, possibly financial reports. “It seems to be a sad day, some people will say, but for us it is a joyous day that we have been able to drive MCTA to a logical conclusion, the excited Project Manager proudly intimated.

Of course and why not, the MCTA had carried out its mandate through, that is ensuring a strengthened GCP-trial capacity in Africa which enabled African institutions and scholars to participate fully in both the development and evaluation of new and existing tools against malaria. This, MCTA did, through the strengthening of 16 research centres in 10 African countries to be able to conduct large studies, training, networking and mentoring programmes.

It also offered technical assistance, infrastructural development and the provision of state of the art equipment and ultra modern digital X-ray machines for both hospitals and research laboratories. This enabled the centres to expand their research and to produce quality results to meet international standards.

MCTA also brought together teams for quality data entry and processing and helped to solve perennial water and power outages of some of the centres. At the end of its 5-year term, the achievements are there for all to see.

The collaboration between MCTA and AMMREN was indeed mutually-beneficial as MCTA made it possible for AMMREN to visit and interact with research scientists at the centres to understand some of the work and research findings which they articulated perfectly to communities and policy makers. This was the basis of AMMREN’s visit to the MCTA to show its appreciation.

All said and done, MCTA no longer exists but the scientists are committed to building on its achievements. Looking to the future, there are still opportunities to do some more work.

“MCTA has changed its name to the African Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) to consolidate the achievements of the last 5 years”, Prof. Binka said.

             Prof Binka interacting with AMMREN members after the presentation

Some provision has so far been made to support ACTA with some funds in the first year, to get their acts together. In the Professor’s view, ACTA will be a formidable force if the team of scientists and researchers work together, since on the continent of Africa, they have the best facilities.

With the end of MCTA, the Professor will now turn his attention to the INDEPTH Effectiveness and Safety project (INESS) which seeks to investigate the effectiveness and safety of anti malarials in real life situation.

“I was not hoping to run the INESS project but it has been entrusted to me in a way,” he said. He takes over from Dr. Hassan Mshinda who has been given a national assignment as the Director of the Commission for Science and Technology for Tanzania. “This is going to be another challenge”, he noted.

With the MCTA’s support to research centres, phases 2 and 3 malaria clinical trials have been ran in most of the centres on the GSK produced malaria vaccine candidate, RTSS. The safety of the RTSS malaria candidate was established in the phase 2 trials.

Currently the centres are running the phase 3 trials to determine the efficacy of the vaccine candidate. Results are expected by the end of this year. “In anticipation for the vaccine, it is likely that GSK will set up a phase 4 study as a follow up to the vaccine, Prof. Binka hinted. “We anticipated this”, he quickly added. But if it happens, our portfolio will get bigger”, he concluded.

A Governance Council meeting was expected to be held in March to sort out their job in the study.

Prof. Binka assured AMMREN that “The role of the media in this part of the study will be much bigger than even under the MCTA.”

He said his philosophy has always been that scientists are the worse communicators and called for a strong partnership between scientists and AMMREN to create the interface where information from the scientists is passed on to the public through AMMREN since whatever the scientists do affect the population.

This would enable the scientists to stick to what they know how to do best. AMMREN is therefore keeping its “legs” and “fingers” crossed to take advantage of this opportunity to also do what it knows how to do best, so that the fight against malaria can be taken to the next level.

Editions: 
Seventh Edition