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World Malaria Day 2015: A look a back at the week

24 April 2015

This year the theme for World Malaria Day is ‘Invest in the future, Defeat malaria’, a common message and platform for countries to showcase their successes in malaria control and unify diverse initiatives in the changing global context. 

In commemoration of World Malaria Day, the WWARN team have been very busy promoting our research, and that of our partners, at different events all over the world. The first event that WWARN was involved with was a seminar series at the University of North Carolina. This event announced the publication of a special supplement on counterfeit and substandard medicines published in the American Journal of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The supplement was made up of 17 publications and aimed to make policy makers take notice of the global threat of counterfeit and substandard medicines.

At the UNC seminar, Patricia Tabernero, former Coordinator for the WWARN Drug Quality Group presented the latest findings from the Drug Quality group. The team compared a survey of the quality of antimalarial medicines in 2003 and 2012 in Laos. The results were very promising, with a dramatic drop of counterfeit medicines available in the country over that 9 year period.

Complementary to this seminar, WWARN’s Professor Paul Newton, Head of the Drug Quality Group, and Andrea Stewart, Head of Advocacy and Communications, wrote a compelling blog for the World Malaria Day website on antimalarial drug quality and drug efficacy. The blog explored this often forgotten piece of the puzzle and looked for greater consensus on the definition and monitoring strategy of medicine quality within the supply chain. This, they said, would impact on our efforts to control and contain malaria and drug resistance would diminish significantly.

At the World Malaria Day London Event, WWARN Scientific Coordinator, Dr Christian Nsanzabana presented, alongside many prestigious names in the world of malaria research, the results from WWARN’s publications on suboptimal dosing of antimalarials focussing on young children. This research into optimising dosing regimens informed some of the change made by the WHO to malaria treatment guidelines. The WHO released these updated treatment guidelines on the 23 April to tie in with the World Malaria Day commemorations.

At the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, WWARN Director Philippe Guerin joined in the celebrations of the opening of the new Centre for Malaria Research. At the inauguration event of the new Centre, Philippe presented on the topic of ‘Antimalarial drug resistance, a global threat to malaria control’. We look forward to hearing more about the upcoming projects and research that will come from the Centre for Malaria Research.

Here are just a few of many other activities that happened around the world to commemorate World Malaria Day 2015: