Accelerating the Fight against Malaria - World Malaria Day 2024

The Conference in Kigali brings together the international malaria community to
The Conference in Kigali brings together the international malaria community to device better strategies for malaria control and elimination. (Photo: MIM society).
With over 600,000 deaths in 2022, malaria remains one of the biggest health threats particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Against this background, the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM Society) 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference is currently taking place in Kigali, Rwanda. Coinciding with this years’ World Malaria Day, the conference brings together 1,500 people from around the world to shape future strategies in the fight against malaria. About 30 researchers and students are representing Swiss TPH at the event.

In the last few years, efforts to curb malaria have unfortunately been stalling. In 2022, over 600,000 people died from malaria, primarily children under the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. People living in the most vulnerable circumstances - including young children, pregnant women and refugees - continue to bear the biggest burden.

Global malaria community in Kigali

Today’s World Malaria Day aims to accelerate the fight and work together toward a malaria-free world. This week also brings together the global malaria community for the first time in six years. The Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM Society) 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference (PAMC) is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, gathers 1,500 policy-makers, researchers and experts from around the world. The conference underscores the importance of locally driven research and development and the power of collaboration.

"Through the largest Malaria Conference, the MIM society fosters local ownership and leadership to mobilise key stakeholders, and invest in the young scientific generation that will develop innovative tools to eliminate and eradicate malaria," said Christian Nsanzabana, leader of the Genotyping Group at Swiss TPH, and member of the PAMC 2024’s scientific committee.

The aim of the conference is to provide a platform for researchers, policy makers, and innovators to come together and deliberate on effective strategies, share research findings, and discuss the challenges and efforts of controlling malaria on the continent. The event is jointly organised by the MIM Society, the Ministry of Health Rwanda, and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

Swiss TPH contribution to the conference

Over 30 employees and students of Swiss TPH are attending the conference presenting on topics ranging from malaria drug development, malaria genomics, drug resistance, capacity strengthening, strategic malaria planning, the impact of climate change on malaria, community-based biolarviciding and malaria genotyping. Emilie Pothin, leader of the Analytics and Intervention Modelling Group at Swiss TPH for instance presented on the latest developments in modelling. "Mathematical modelling helps us to understand the expected impact of different malaria interventions in specific settings and can contribute to optimising resource allocation for maximum impact," she said.

Several staff members and students of Swiss TPH have also been involved in the organisation of the conference. Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, Head of the Malaria and NTDs Programme in Rwanda and PhD candidate at Swiss TPH, for example, was part of the team organising the PAMC World Malaria Day activities. "To reduce and eliminate malaria, we require evidence-based efforts and strong multi-sectoral collaborations, particularly community engagement in the prevention and control of malaria. That is why on World Malaria Day 2024, we emphasise continued investment in these areas and showcase malaria control success stories and best practices", he said.

Broad expertise in malaria

More than 250 staff and students of Swiss TPH are actively involved in addressing various aspects of malaria. Activities range from basic research on the biology of the malaria parasite to identifying and testing new diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines, to studying the mosquito and developing and validating vector control tools and strategies. In addition, we apply computational sciences, statistics and mathematical modelling to improve our understanding of the biology and transmission of malaria and the impact of interventions to inform decision-makers. Finally, Swiss TPH is the designated WHO Collaborating Centre for Modelling, Monitoring, and Training for Malaria Control and Elimination.

Photos: MIM Society

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