Dr Jack Richards and his team are working hard to develop a diagnostic test that will enable effective treatment and eradication of malaria.
The development of bespoke projects to reduce the burden of malaria is one of the goals of Australia Awards courses recently jointly-hosted by Burnet Institute, for multi-sectoral groups from Indonesia’s eastern provinces.
The courses, developed by Melbourne University’s Nossal Institute for Global Health in collaboration with Burnet, were funded by the Australian and Indonesian Governments.
They brought together doctors, nurses, community health workers, policy makers, researchers and laboratory technicians from East Nusa Tenggara, Papua and West Papua provinces to address the broadest possible range of responses to malaria at home.
Over three weeks, the participants studied malaria diagnosis, treatment, and vector control under the supervision of experts from Burnet, Nossal, Thailand’s Mahidol University, and the Menzies Institute in Darwin, coordinated by Lisa Davidson from Burnet and Nossal’s Timothy Moore.
Image: Course participants from East Nusa Tenggara province attend a presentation by Dr Leanne Robinson
A key requirement was for participants to design projects based on their skills or interests that they could start up and maintain for the benefit of their own communities, in particular, pregnant women, infants and children.
“There’s a big emphasis on making sure they don’t just go back home and get lost in the system, that they’ll stay together working in groups,” Bruce Parnell, Burnet Infectious Diseases and Health Systems Strengthening Specialist, said.
“We talk to them about how to present their projects to other people in their district or village, and the importance of advocacy and encouraging leaders to invest in the health of their own community.
“Also, when they’re home they’ll meet with people who did the same course last year, and a big part of the program is getting them in touch with each other through social media, and to continue their connections with Burnet and Nossal.
Image: Dr Ricardo Ataide conducts a tour of the Burnet laboratories
“We have much better research now about how to diagnose malaria, how malaria affects people’s immunity, and what to do about it, but this is right down at the grass roots level, addressing how we take what we’ve learned in our labs out into the world to make a big difference.”
East Nusa Tenggara, Papua and West Papua provinces have the highest burden of malaria in Indonesia, which has declared malaria elimination by 2030 as a national goal.
The Burnet component of the courses included tours of the Institute’s laboratories and presentations from researchers Dr Jack Richards, Dr Herbert Opi, Dr Leanne Robinson and Dr Ricardo Ataide.
For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:
Infectious Diseases and Health Systems Strengthening Specialist