The fight against malaria has received a significant boost as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $16 million to The Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), a world-leading initiative that houses the largest malaria database. The MAP, based in Perth, Western Australia, utilizes advanced geospatial modeling and analytics to map and monitor malaria globally. It plays a crucial role in tracking the effects of malaria control policies and programs.
As part of this grant, a new MAP Node will be established in the East African region, operating under the Ifakara Health Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Led by the esteemed Susan Rumisha, PhD, senior research fellow at MAP, the East Africa MAP Node will collaborate closely with the existing Perth Node, led by renowned scientist Peter Gething, PhD, who holds the Kerry M Stokes Chair in Child Health at Curtin University and the Telethon Kids Institute.
Dr. Gething expressed enthusiasm about the foundation grant’s potential impact, stating, “This new chapter for MAP brings us closer to realizing our goals of eliminating malaria. By establishing a presence in Africa, with $5 million dedicated to the East Africa Node, we can significantly boost our research efforts in the region and strengthen research capacity where malaria is endemic.”
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) carries the heaviest burden of malaria, accounting for 95 percent of cases and deaths worldwide. Therefore, expanding research and innovation in this region is crucial to achieving progress against the disease.
The establishment of the East Africa Node will involve the relocation of MAP team member Punam Amratia, PhD, who will join Dr. Rumisha in Dar es Salaam. Together, they will build a local research team and drive advancements in geospatial analytics for malaria. Their work aims to generate robust evidence that will inform strategic decision-making to combat malaria effectively.
The additional funding will enable MAP to produce detailed geospatial malaria models and analytics on an annual basis. This data will provide a comprehensive understanding of malaria transmission, infection rates, morbidity, mortality, and intervention coverage worldwide.
Beyond mapping and monitoring, the expanded research efforts will focus on identifying the drivers behind recent trends in malaria in Africa, evaluating future threats such as drug resistance and climate change, and analyzing strategies to optimize the efficiency and impact of current and future malaria control tools.
With the establishment of the East Africa Node, the Malaria Atlas Project is taking a significant step forward in its mission to eliminate malaria. By combining the expertise and resources of the Perth and East Africa Nodes, MAP is positioned to make even greater strides in the fight against this devastating disease.
1. What is The Malaria Atlas Project?
The Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) is an initiative that utilizes geospatial modeling and analytics to map and monitor malaria globally. It houses the world’s largest malaria database and plays a crucial role in tracking the impact of malaria control policies and programs.
2. What is the significance of the East Africa MAP Node?
The establishment of the East Africa MAP Node represents an exciting development in the fight against malaria. With a dedicated research team operating within the Ifakara Health Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this node will focus on driving research and innovation in geospatial analytics for malaria. It aims to generate robust evidence that will guide malaria control strategies in Africa and globally.
3. Why is research capacity being strengthened in Africa?
Sub-Saharan Africa bears the heaviest burden of malaria, accounting for 95 percent of cases and deaths worldwide. Strengthening research capacity in this region is crucial to understanding the disease’s drivers, evaluating future threats, and developing effective control tools. It will contribute to the ongoing efforts to eliminate malaria in Africa and save numerous lives.