Boot Camp V, Day 6: A Visit to an Entomology Lab, Presentations from Partners, and Malaria In Pregnancy

Against Malaria Director Rob Mather and Robin Todd with Concern Universal Skype-in at Boot Camp V.

The sixth day of malaria boot camp V was filled with presentations from high-profile actors, a presentation about malaria in pregnancy, and a field-visit to an entomology lab.

Boot camp V participants woke up early this morning to visit the malaria research SLAP lab (Section de Lutte Anti Parasitaire) and clinic in Thies, Senegal. Entomology and parasitic professors and specialists Dr. Douda Ndiaye and Dr. Ngayo Sy hosted the group. They presented their current research at the lab including testing for drug resistance, mosquito biting behavior and migration, and an epidemiology survey. Participants took a tour of the lab where mosquitoes are raised and studied and the clinic where they follow and treat each malaria case closely.  The professors expressed an interest in collaborating with Peace Corps on research endeavors both in the lab and in the field.

Following the visit, participants received a visit (via Skype) from MACEPA Director, Duncan Earle. MACEPA stands for Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa and is a program of PATH, an international global health non-profit that promotes innovation and research. Duncan talked about MACEPA’s activities to push malaria efforts from saving lives to elimination in some countries. He described their innovative work with using surveillance and reporting, such as using cell phone texting for collection malaria data, for malaria intervention. MACEPA already partners with Peace Corps in Senegal and Zambia, and is interested in expanding the partnership in other Peace Corps countries.

Dr. Jim Herrington, Director, Division of International Relations, Fogarty International Center of the the National Institutes of Health, speak to the group about malaria research.

The afternoon started with a session about using electronic tools and social media led by PCVL Jillian Husman. Afterwards, Rob Mather with Against Malaria paid the presenters a visit from London via Skype. Rob talked about the pillars of his organization: efficiency, transparency, and impact, which are necessary to save lives. He discussed how every donor dollar goes to purchasing a bed net and the donors can track where in the world the bed net will go. Stomping Out Malaria in Africa has been partnering with Against Malaria for about one year. Both organizations look forward on expanding this partnership in the future.

Julie Gutman, MD, Senior Advisor at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), spoke to the group via Skype about malaria in pregnancy. She explained the dangers of placental malaria and preventative strategies such as IPTp (Intermittent Preventative Treatment during pregnancy) and LLINs (long-lasting insecticide treated nets). She also discussed the risks of HIV and malaria during pregnancy and preventative measures that should be promoted across sub-Saharan Africa.

Finally, Dr. Jim Herrington, Director of the Fogarty Center, a program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) wrapped up the day in an informative session via Skype about the NIH’s background and recent malaria research. The NIH is currently conducting malaria research in areas of prevention, therapeutics, diagnostics, vector biology, and vaccines. Dr. Herrington discussed the implications of a study about fake antimalarial drugs in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

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