The University of the Witwatersrand has announced the formation of the Wits Research Institute for Malaria, (WRIM), strengthening research into one of Africa's deadliest diseases.
WRIM is headed jointly by Professor Maureen Coetzee and Professor Thérèsa Coetzer in the Wits School of Pathology.
"Wits is in the unique position of having three excellent research groups working on malaria vectors, parasites and pharmacology. The Wits Faculty of Health Sciences supported the combination of these groups into an Institute," says Assistant Dean Research and Post Graduate Support, Professor Beverly Kramer.
"The problem is that in Africa there are very few research institutes that have the capacity to address a host of issues and make an impact on the disease. The WRIM aims to produce top quality research and researchers that will benefit malaria control in Africa and place it amongst the leading malaria research groups in the world," adds Coetzee.
Every 60 seconds a child dies of Malaria. It remains one of the major disease burdens globally with over 200 million cases per year and over 650,000 deaths, predominantly in children under 5 in Africa. The estimated annual cost to the African continent is over US$ 1-billion. In the past 10 years, a concerted drive to control malaria has been put into effect in many African countries with the support of the Global Fund for Aids, TB and Malaria; the President's Malaria Initiative, the World Bank and several international donor funding agencies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the EU and the Wellcome Trust.
World Malaria Day is commemorated annually on 25 April.