Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in Africa, with the region accounting for 92% of all malaria cases and deaths globally according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Despite being a disease that is highly preventable and has available effective treatment mechanisms, malaria continues to severely impede the health and well-being of people across the region and around the world.
12 post-doctoral and PhD candidates from WANETAM member institutions joined as part of a 24-month training programme to build malaria clinical trial research collaboration and skills, from basic theoretical backgrounds to wet lab and bioinformatics tools for genomic surveillance of malaria.
Alfred Amambua-Ngwa, Prof of Genetic Epidemiology at LSHTM said: “The malaria research community in Africa needs advanced technologies and skills to accelerate malaria elimination programs. Democratisation of genomic surveillance will give us one more weapon for enthusiastic young scientists fighting malaria parasites across the continent.”
He added that the training specifically introduced participants to amplicon sequencing techniques and data analysis skills with Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Technology (ONT) for malaria genomic surveillance
Salimata Konaté, Post-Doctoral Candidate at the Malaria Research and Training Center (MRTC) in Mali highlighted how it aligns with her vision to contribute to eliminating malaria in Mali:
“This equipped me with the skills I need to join the sequencing platform within my institution and contribute to widening the scope of our current study on the impact of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in incidences of malaria.”
The training primes participants to implement pilot projects and support collaboration, knowledge exchange, and skills transfer within and between their home institutions.
Babacarr Sambe, a post-doctoral candidate at Institut Pasteur de Dakar, said: “This will help me explore more comprehensive tools and arrive at an answer to my research questions. The new skills will also help me to participate in future molecular surveillance interventions undertaken by my institution.”
As part of its mandate, WANETAM continues to invest in building capacities to evaluate new interventions to curb and subsequently interrupt malaria transmission, by exploring molecular techniques.
[NS1]Why is that important? Is it cutting-edge technique?
LSHTM's short and specifically designed courses provide the opportunity for intensive study in specialised topics.
These courses enable participants to refresh their skills and keep up to date with the latest research and knowledge in public and global health.