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Decolonising Malaria Research

MC decolonising webinar

Building on our statement in June, which highlighted the role of the Malaria Centre and our members in combatting systemic racism to open up dialogue about the roots of ‘tropical medicine’ and its modern-day legacy, we are holding a session on decolonising malaria research. This coincides with the beginning of the academic year to prompt conversation around teaching materials and ways of working. We also reflected on what we have learnt from the current COVID-19 pandemic, including how technology opens possibilities for greater international connectedness and inclusion of malaria-endemic scientists. This is the start of a bigger conversation. 

Joining us will be historian Dr John Manton who will introduce the interplay between malaria control and imperialism, then we will take a dive into the archives with Victoria Cranna reflecting on the so-called ‘forefathers’ of malaria; Patrick Manson & Ronald Ross, and the way this impacts the version of malaria history held and taught to us.  

This will set the scene for our fantastic panel – full details below. You can submit questions in advance using the registration link.

Programme 

17:00 – 17:05: Welcome & introduction

Prof Sian Clarke or Dr Colin Sutherland

17:05 – 17:25: Malaria control, imperialism, and the roots of tropical medicine

Speaker: Dr John Manton (LSHTM)

The conditions for understanding and controlling malaria in endemic areas relied on a convergence of scientific enquiry, imperial territorial expansion and competition, and the economic and political requirements of new, exploitative colonial states in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This session examines the interplay of interests, objectives, and ideologies at the heart of early histories of malaria control and invites discussion of their continued role at the heart of our understandings of global health and disease control today.

17:20 – 17:40: Decolonising the Archives: Applying a critical lens the LSHTM collections

Speaker: Victoria Cranna (LSHTM)

Within the LSHTM archives we have begun to re-examine the way we work, the stories we tell and the role we can play in promoting different versions of history. We hold the archives of many early malaria researchers including Sir Patrick Manson, Sir Ronald Ross, and Sir Malcolm Watson. In this session, we will explore the difficulty in reconciling the celebration of scientific achievement with the true nature of its colonial legacy and how our archival practices may reinforce the colonial legacy.

17:45 – 18:00: Poll

Attendees rate 5 images or scenarios on their suitability using an anonymous poll, then they are discussed by the panel.

18:00 – 18:30: Panel discussion

Speakers: Dr Shunmay Yeung (Chair), Dr Alfred Ngwa, Dr Janet Midega & Dr Eleanor Hutchinson

Please submit your questions in advance when registering for this event and you will also have the  ability submit questions live through the Q&A function.

Speakers 

Dr Shunmay Yeung – LSHTM

Shunmay Yeung is a paediatrician specialising in infectious disease and global health with a background in health economics and operational research. Her research interests are broad but with a focus on malaria, and the diagnosis and management of acute febrile illness in children. Her PhD was on antimalarial drug resistance and drug policy and was undertaken in Southeast Asia, under the supervision of Professors Sir Nicholas White and Dame Anne Mills, with funding from the Wellcome Trust.  It employed economic and epidemiological modeling and field studies on the access to malaria diagnosis and treatment.  In collaboration with the Cambodian national malaria control programme, she lead PACES (Proactive Case Detection and Community Participation for the elimination of drug resistant malaria study) in Cambodia, as part of the DfID funded Tracking Resistance to Artemisinins Collaboration (TRAC), a large programme of research led by the Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit. She is also a She is active clinically as an honorary consultant in Paediatric Infectious Disease at St Mary's Imperial College Hospital, London.

Dr Alfred Ngwa – MRC The Gambia at LSHTM

Alfred’s research focus is on malaria population genomics with a particular interest in determining genome-wide signatures of selection for markers of immunity and drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. His current research on Plasmodium genetics provides a strong link between the CGGH and the malaria research programme in The Gambia led by Umberto d’Alessandro. He also supports molecular detection and genotyping in several studies on bacterial and viral infections. For his post-doctoral project with David Conway, Alfred studied Gambian P. falciparum isolates using deep sequencing data to investigate signatures of balancing selection, with the aim of identifying new targets for functional and immunological investigation. This work was done in collaboration with the MalariaGEN P. falciparum Community Project. This study has since been published in PLoS Genetics.

Dr Janet Midega – Imperial College London

Janet is a Vector Biologist in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Her research interests are in the ecological genomics of Anopheles mosquito populations within the context of ongoing malaria control interventions and the transition in malaria epidemiology. She is particularly interested in vector population genomics, vector-parasite interactions and the genomic epidemiology of malaria.

Dr Eleanor Hutchinson – LSHTM

Eleanor’s research focuses primarily on informality in health systems. This includes examining how social and political networks shape everyday practice and experience in health systems and the unintended consequences of policy change and public health interventions. She has worked extensively on malaria in Uganda & Tanzania. 

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