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April 25, 2018

World Malaria Day 2018: MCDI is "Ready to Beat Malaria"



Women receiving malaria prevention materials from the ARM3 project at a antenatal care clinic in Benin.

Malaria is one of the world's most deadly infectious diseases that is entirely preventable — in 2016, there were 216 million new cases of malaria and 445,000 malaria-related deaths globally. While malaria-related deaths have been cut by more than half since 2000, and 44 countries that had a high malaria burden in 2000 reported less than 10,000 malaria cases in 2016, there is still much more work to be done. MCDI is striving diligently to prevent, control and eventually eliminate malaria in the communities we work in to reach the World Health Organization's goal of reducing global malaria incidence and mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030.

Since its first vector control program in Belize in 1986, MCDI has been on the front lines of combatting malaria. Currently, MCDI works throughout Sub-Saharan Africa to build capacity in malaria prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment, and to strengthen local health systems and local governments in tackling the disease. With the recent granting of the USAID Advancing Progress in Malaria Service Delivery (APMSD) contract to PSI, MCDI and other partners, MCDI is poised to make a significant impact over the next five years in the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) target countries, making bold steps towards to improving and saving lives from malaria.

World Malaria Day is one day each year for the global health community to organize and articulate their desire for the elimination of a disease that affects too many throughout the world. For MCDI, every day is vital in the fight against malaria.

MCDI supports World Malaria Day 2018 celebrations

In Benin and Equatorial Guinea, MCDI will sponsor and support World Malaria Day celebrations that will help to raise awareness of how citizens can prevent malaria in their families and their communities. In Benin, MCDI is supporting a car caravan that will stop in villages between Cotonou and Adjouhoun to relay messages about malaria prevention through banners, posters and flyers, and will attend a ceremony in Adjohoun with the Minister of Health.

In Equatorial Guinea, MCDI is hosting an official ceremony with government officials to discuss the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the work of the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project. The ceremony will feature presentations from MCDI, the NMCP, UNICEF and a representative of the Roll Back Malaria Initiative. There will also be musical and theatrical performances. MCDI is also supporting the production of a radio program and a television news report that will feature the malaria control work conducted on Bioko Island.

Improving malaria diagnosis and treatment on a global scale

2017 brought the end to the PMI-funded MalariaCare project, which in combination with its predecessor Improving Malaria Diagnostics (IMaD) project, has brought MCDI to 16 countries to set global standards for malaria diagnosis; to work with national governments to develop and implement national diagnostic policy guidelines; to develop quality assurance cycles based on outreach training and support supervision (OTSS); to develop malaria diagnostics refresher training (MDRT) courses; and to develop and implement rapid diagnostic testing roll-out plans, training and quality control. In 2018, MCDI will continue and expand this important work with its partners through the APMSD project, which will work in 28 countries overall in Africa and the Mekong sub-region of Southeast Asia. In addition to diagnostic capacity building, MCDI will also co-lead efforts to improve treatment capacities at all levels of the health system.

In Guinea, MCDI is providing technical assistance to improve malaria diagnostic capacities at all levels of the health system through the USAID StopPalu+ program led by RTI International. This includes training of trainers in laboratory and rapid diagnostics, testing and certifying laboratory technicians in malaria microscopy, as well as conducting malaria diagnostics refresher trainings (MDRTs). MCDI is also supporting the development of training materials, hands-on practice sessions, and job aids related to basic microscope maintenance.

Integrating malaria interventions with HIV/AIDS prevention in Gabon

MCDI is in the early stages of implementing the Integrated Maternal and Neonatal Survival through Malaria and HIV/AIDS Prevention in Gabon project in rural Nyanga Province. Funded by Noble Energy, the program aims to reduce the transmission of both diseases through improving prevention, testing and treatment of malaria at primary health facilities, as well as testing, counseling and tracking of HIV-positive pregnant women and their newborns. Both malaria and HIV/AIDS pose special threats to pregnant women. By improving care and increasing attending at antenatal care clinics, MCDI hopes to reduce to burden of both diseases in Nyanga Province.

Innovative vector control and vaccine trials in Equatorial Guinea

The Bioko Island Malaria Control Program (BIMCP) has been led by MCDI since 2004, and has been recognized globally for its innovative approach to integrating vector control programs and using data-driven decision making to target populations for specific interventions. Over the past 14 years, the program results have been extensively documented in scientific journals for its unique combination of interventions and its success in reducing the malaria transmission rate by 76% in children ages 2-14 since 2004. By integrating indoor residual spraying, bed net distribution, diagnosis and treatment, use of geospatial monitoring and evaluation programs, as well as in-depth surveying, MCDI has been able to make a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the residents of Bioko Island.

In 2012, MCDI began implementing the Equatoguinean Malaria Vaccine Initiative, which is currently conducting the first ever clinical trials in Equatorial Guinea and is testing an innovative PfSPZ malaria vaccine developed by Sanaria Inc. If approved, the vaccine is planned to be used in mass vaccination efforts that will work with the BIMCP as a means to eliminate malaria on Bioko Island . Over the past year, the Initiative has published results in major scientific publications, including the American Journal for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and has presented their findings at multiple international scientific conferences. The current trial phase of the EGMVI will end in December of 2018. Both the BIMCP and EGMVI are funded by a consortium of oil companies led by Marathon Oil and the Government of Equatorial Guinea.

Strengthening health systems in Benin to reduce the impact of malaria

2018 marks the final year of our six-year bilateral malaria control program in Benin funded by USAID, Accelerating the Reduction of Malaria Morbidity and Mortality (ARM3). ARM3 has focused on strengthening the capacity of Benin's National Malaria Control Program in all aspects of its programming. ARM3 has led in building capacity in malaria diagnosis and treatment, improving supply chain management systems for malaria commodities in Benin, as well as integrating the private health system (which accounts for 60% of all health facility visits in Benin) into the malaria supply chain and reporting systems. The project has also increased the uptake of intermittent preventative treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) by 44% between 2011 and 2017.

Towards 2030: what is next in the fight against malaria?

The technical experts at MCDI are primed to work in pre-elimination settings, with expertise in sensitive diagnostic tools, antimalarial drug resistance, as well as decades of experience in implementing malaria control programs in coordination with international bodies such as the WHO and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. By taking part in scientific research, technical working groups, and developing innovative intervention strategies for current and future projects, MCDI is poised to continue to be a recognized global leader in malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

MCDI is prepared to face new challenges on the road towards elimination. MCDI is #ReadytoBeatMalaria!



A health worker in her home health facility in Nyanga Province, Gabon.


A child being tested for malaria in Malawi through MalariaCare.


ARM3's booth at the 2017 World Malaria Day celebrations.




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