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Malaria Can Be Eradicated In Africa – Neurosurgeon 

By Elvis Tah

A Tanzanian Neurosurgeon cum Vice Chairman of the African Malaria Network Trust, AMANET, a consortium of European and African research institutions, Prof. Yadon Mtarima Kohi has declared that malaria can be eradicated in Africa. He made the declaration, Monday, May 25, at the Seme Beach Hotel, during a training workshop on Health Research Ethics (HRE) for investigators.

Malaria researchers at the end of the workshop

Prof. Kohi sounded reassuring that with continuous research, it will just be a matter of time and the deadly malaria pandemic will be history. "Malaria is the number one health burden in Africa. Right now, we are looking at efforts to do more research in order to understand and establish more effective means of controlling or eradicating it," Prof. Kohi said.

He noted that the World Medical Association, WMA, and the United Nations Organisation have taken up the issue to create guidelines and develop principles of good practice geared towards a malaria-free society. "We have experienced researchers whom we want to continue with their research works but it must be based on acceptable principles so that what they generate becomes acceptable worldwide," Prof. Kohi stated.

Meanwhile, the Managing Trustee of the African Malaria Network Trust, Prof. Wen Kilama, stated that there is a lot of research going on in Africa which will provide the tools that is needed to make a better diagnostics for better medicines and preventions. "We are currently focusing on the development of malaria vaccines, particularly those that the African population stands to benefit from," Prof Kilama said. He stated that AMANET has several projects going on in Burkina Faso, Mali, Tanzania and Gabon.

"We are working on malaria trial vaccines like Merozoite Sulphate Protein (MSP3LSP) which has proven to be safe on adults in Africa and currently undergoing safety trials in children in Burkina Faso and Tanzania," said Prof. Kilama. He continued: "Another vaccine is the Apical Membrane Antigen (AMA1). The vaccine is undergoing phase 1b evaluation in adults in Mali,".

Prof. Kilama said that two Cameroonian institutions are beneficiaries of a grant launched by AMANET, to strengthen ethics committees in 20 institutions across Africa. "We have provided two grants to Cameroon. The beneficiaries are the Biotechnological institute under the leadership of Prof. Rose Leke in the University of Yaounde I and the other one is to Prof. Roger Moyo of the Research Institute in Yaounde."

Paticipants at workshop on malaria

"There is a third grant which is to strengthen the office of Prof. Godfrey Tangwa. We are taking the advantage of Cameroon’s bilingualism to put up our office because we shall constantly need to use French or English to put up very important philosophical theories," said Prof. kilama.

The Vice Dean of the Faculty of Health Science in the University of Buea, Prof. Eric Achidi, in an interview, stated that in Cameroon, 40 percent of hospitalisation is due to malaria. He said 300.000.000 new cases of malaria are recorded yearly in the world. Against this backdrop, he said, there are a lot of researchers coming into Africa to conduct high quality research and also to get their products in the market.

"We must also protect our interest, which is why we need to empower our people all over Africa to guard against this malpractice," said Prof. Achidi. On why they did not involve tradi-practitioners in the workshop, given that they too are also assisting in the healthcare delivery process, he said they could not include tradi-practitioners in the deliberations because they are focusing mostly on intensive health research.

He added that they can engage into some partnership with tradi-practitioners in order to look for modalities in which their concoctions can be validated to bring about a standard and approved packages for treating diseases. It should be noted that 49 researchers from 11 African countries attended the 5-day workshop in Limbe.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Cooperation and Relation with the Business World at the University of Buea, Prof. Victor Julius Ngoh, chaired the workshop. Other participants at the workshop were Prof. Peter Ndumbe, Dean of Faculty of Health Science, Joseph Malafa, Assistant Senior Divisional Officer for Fako, Kele Esike, Mayor of Idenau etc.