Liberia: LMHRA, St. Joseph Catholic Hosp. Conduct Research On Malaria

The Liberian partners of the IGORCADIA Project (Improved Governance and Research Capacities in Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases) of the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) started a research about the Diagnostic Performance of Malaria (DiagLib) at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Monrovia.

The purpose of this study is to describe the performance of malaria diagnosis (microscopy and Rapid diagnostic tests) at the hospital by applying laboratory-based approaches to sensitively detect the presence of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) in clinical samples.

Plasmodium falciparum, according to research, is a unicellular protozoan parasite of humans, and the deadliest species of Plasmodium that cause malaria in humans. It is transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. It is responsible for roughly 50 percent of all malaria cases.

Other objectives of DiagLib are to quantify the presence of Pfhrp2 and Pfhrp3 deletions; to assess molecular markers of antimalarial resistance in malaria isolates, to quantify the presence of other Plasmodium species and to establish a repository of samples and reference materials for future researches.

The qualitative component of the research will be developed by the LMHRA team during August and September 2019.

It will be achieved through the conduct of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions among participants of the malaria research, and pregnant women at their first antenatal visit to the hospital, LMHRA stakeholders (National malaria Control Program, Ministry of Health, National Public Health Institute of Liberia), Community Advisory Boards, hemo biobanking and other health workers.

The purpose of the approach to the different participants is to understand the Liberian contextual barriers, and the community perceptions on the storage of biological samples for biomedical research.

All IGORCADIA project activities are being conducted, according to the international and national legal and ethical rules. ethic clearance and approvals from the University of Liberia (UL-PIRE), Ethics Review Board (ERB) in Monrovia, and from the CEIC ERB (Barcelona, Spain) have been obtained prior to starting any activity.

In addition, an ethics mentor is providing continuous inputs and pieces of advice about the local requirements and specific cultural issues.

The IGORCADIA team has been highly committed to promoting equal opportunities in science and research from a gender perspective among participating institutions, contributing to improve the quality of life, the health of women and girls and the participation of women in all the activities developed within the Project.

No selection process to become a member of the research team has presented any type of barrier or limitation from a gender perspective. Moreover, a monitoring system has been developed to make sure equal opportunities among the research team and participants.

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