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London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Malaria Centre

Kristin Banek at MIM 2018 | A chance to meet old collaborators, and new

26 June 2018
MIM 2018 travel award winner

This was the fifth Pan-African MIM conference I have attended.  It is exciting to see how the conference has grown over the years with more women and African scientist participating and a growing number of thematic areas.  However, despite its larger size, MIM remains familiar. You can always count on coffee breaks and lunches to recognise a familiar face. This year it was a nice touch to have the MIM gala free for everyone. It can be a strain for students and some early career professionals to attend MIM, and this small gesture helped to ensure everyone could be included.

The highlight of MIM for me was to run into colleagues from the different places I have worked over the last 15 years (Liberia, Uganda and Sierra Leone), all of whom were there to present their latest work. Also, I was finally able to meet a collaborator face-to-face, whom I only knew via email and skype while working on a large proposal last year. In a world where remote working is now the new normal, there is really no substitute for meeting a person and shaking their hand. It was also nice to make new connections and learn about all the exciting work that is going on in malaria now. In particular, it was great to hear the emphasis on improving antimalarials to be more child-friendly. Additionally, after working for many years in post-conflict affected countries, I was very pleased to hear of the renewed focus on those suffering from malaria in humanitarian situations. These are indeed populations that would benefit greatly from malaria prevention and treatment interventions.

There is always a joke about the disorganisation and logistical challenges that surround MIM, but despite these, I always find the conference to be useful and inspiring.  If you are ever wondering if this conference is worth your time and if you should attend…..the answer is yes without hesitation.