London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Malaria Centre

Khalid Beshir at MIM 2018 | Malaria control and elimination efforts

26 June 2018
MIM 2018 travel award winner

 

The Malaria Centre provided me with travel award to attend the seventh Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Pan African Conference in Senegal. More than 2000 delegates from all over the world attended the conference. The delegates highlighted the progress we made in the last two decades and presented talks and posters on current research and challenges on malaria control and elimination. It was refreshing to hear the overall decrease of malaria cases and deaths globally due to a concerted effort of malaria community working on basic malaria, translational as well as implementation and monitoring research. In the meeting, control and elimination sessions including seasonal malaria chemoprevention, drug resistance challenges and the development of new drugs were among the prominent talks.

I presented a talk on the effectiveness of scaling up of season malaria chemoprevention (SMC) in seven countries in sub Saharan Africa. I reported that, in the seven countries scaling-up implementation of SMC, the prevalence of relevant resistance markers in 2017 was low, and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine plus amodiaquine is expected to work effectively. Another survey in 2018 will evaluate the impact of continuing SMC implementation on the prevalence of gene variants of interest.

Several conference participants also presented talks and posters on the efficacy of antimalarial treatment. It was reassuring to hear that artemisinin combination therapy is still working effectively in all African countries.  This was highlighted by the absence of a resistance phenotype previously observed in greater Mekong area and lack of any mutations associated with artemisinin resistance.

One important challenge underlined in the meeting was the emergence of Plasmodium falciparum parasites lacking histidine-rich protein in some parts of Africa, particularly in the east. Such parasites cause false-negative RDT results and pose greater threat to malaria control and elimination efforts. There were not many talks or posters that address this emerging threat, maybe because it has not yet spread to other parts of Africa.

I also had opportunity to meeting collaborators and we discussed progress in our current as well as potential future collaborations. Overall, the conference was very beneficial and I would like to thank the Malaria Centre for the award.