6 December 2012

Tanzania: NIMR Calls for Cheaper, Effective Malaria Drugs

Photo: Ezhil Ramalingam
Infected Anopheles mosquitoes carry a parasite in the genus Plasmodium, the cause of the deadly disease malaria.

THE Director General of the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Dr Mwele Malecela, challenged malaria scientists and researchers to work hard to discover new drugs that were not only effective but also cheap to make and easy to take.

Opening the 12th Joint Malaria Programme (JMP) Annual Scientific Workshop held at Uhuru Lutheran Hotel here, she said malaria researchers should declare the goal of eliminating malaria because they can eradicate malaria.

"We have a real chance to strengthen our partnership through JMP, generate the political will, through our collaborators, the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) to develop the scientific breakthroughs we need to eradicate this disease," she said.

The NIMR boss told the workshop that medicines for malaria venture have the largest and most diverse portfolio of new drug candidates in the history of malaria, adding that developments in vaccine research today were just as exciting.

Dr Malecela admitted that she was aware that researchers at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and NIMR, with the support of the Innovative Vector Control Consortium among the stakeholders were studying a variety of ways of making mosquitoes less capable of transmitting the parasites, adding that they were also working on new pesticides to make them more effective in preventing mosquito-borne disease in humans, which she said was another important milestone.

She also expressed appreciation for open and equal partnership between scientists and their institutions that operates at JMP and commended for that style of partnership to be sustained, adding that at many platforms, she has recommended JMP as an excellent model of partnership in Africa worth emulating.

"I would like, therefore, to take this opportunity to convey my appreciation to all JMP partners and scientists for their generous contributions made towards health research that has enabled the government to manage its health policies in the control and prevention of malaria," Dr Malecela noted.

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