Joining efforts to detect and control Plasmodium falciparum resistance in East and Central Africa.

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Funding(s)

VLIR

Researcher(s)

Principal investigator: Van geertruyden Jean-Pierre

Period

01/07/2014-30/06/2016

The cognitive, psychomotorical and physical impact of malaria and other (infectious) diseases in school aged children

Abstract

Malaria and anaemia are major causes of morbidity and mortality in children. Declining malaria has changed the shifted the burden of malaria to school children. Chemoprevention strategies using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) was shown to prevent the incidence of malaria and anaemia in infants and school children in an area with low SP resistance. However, it is not clear whether this observation can be generalised to areas with high SP resistance. High levels of SP resistance are recorded in Eastern and Southern Africa and therefore alternative options needs evaluation as SP resistance continue to spread in the continent. There is, therefore, an urgent need to identify alternative drugs that could be used for IPTsc instead of SP. In addition , soil transmitted helminths co-morbidities continues to be unacceptably high in school-aged children, thus strategies for interrupting transmission needs to be optimized . We propose a randomized clinical trial to comparing the efficacy and safety of IPTc using dihydroartemisinin plus piperaquine and SP with piperaquine versus SP in high SP-resistance area.

Funding(s)

VLIR UOS, TEAM programme, 300000€

Researcher(s)

Flemish promoter: Jean-Pierre Van geertruyden (University of Antwerp)
Local promoter: John LUsingu (National Institute for Medical Research)

Period

01/01/2017-01/12/2020

Multi-disciplinary approach to control onchocersiasis-associated epilepsy in the Mahenge area in Morogoro region, Tanzania.

Abstract

Despite the use of ivermectin (IVM) once annually for control of onchocerciasis (oncho) (= river blindness) in Mahenge Tanzania, the prevalence of oncho and epilepsy remains high. There is increasing evidence that epilepsy is a complication of oncho and that treatment of oncho can not only eliminate blindness but also reduce epilepsy. Our proposed project aims to: 1) strengthen the multi-disciplinary research capacity for the prevention of oncho and epilepsy in Tanzania. We will establish an oncho-associated epilepsy (OAE) research group to support a master and a PhD-level student in the development of research protocols addressing OAE in the Mahenge region; 2) reduce the prevalence of oncho and the incidence of epilepsy in the Mahenge area by: a) establishing a surveillance system for early diagnosis of epilepsy; b) strengthening and implementing an effective community distribution of IVM; 3) Implement evidence-based guidelines to treat OAE by training local health care workers; 4) introduce community advocacy on epilepsy, epilepsy-associated stigma and discrimination.

Funding(s)

VLIR UOS TEAM programme: 300.000€

Researcher(s)

Promotor: Colebunders Robert

Co-promotor: Weckhuysen Sarah

Period

01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

Workshop kick starts School Health Project in Tanzania

Launch of the VLIR TEAM project between NIMR and the Global Health Institute

On Friday 8 September, representatives of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, University of Dar es Salaam, the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and the Global Health Institute of the University of Antwerp gathered in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for a comprehensive workshop on School Health.

The aim of the workshop is to attain better school results for young children aged 5 to 15 in Tanzania via measures that will improve their health.  Thanks to the Belgian Government, via VLIR-UOS funding, the UAntwerp Global Health Institute and NIMR will launch a clinical trial in January 2018 on “the impact of intermittent preventative treatment (IPTsc) strategies in reducing malaria and improving the cognitive ability in school-aged children”. Therefore, it was imperative that the government, represented by the Ministry of Education and Health, was not only aware, but that the trial is in line with the government’s approach and strategy. Two lecturers of the University of Arba Minch (Ethiopia) also attended the workshop to exchange experiences and learn from this Tanzanian approach.

In total 3180 youth from 6 schools in the Muheza Disctrict will be involved in the trail. This part of North East Tanzania is a malaria endemic setting with high, middle and low malaria prevalence. The VLIR-UOS TEAM project’s intervention involves a school health package that will, on the one hand include health education. Impregnated bed nets will be promoted and distributed amongst the school children, in line with the national guidelines. Next to that, a medical intervention will take place where school children will be administered IPTsc drugs and Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) where the impact and effects on malaria and related morbidities will be measured.

Prior to this workshop, Prof. Van geertruyden of the Global Health Institute visited NIMR headquarters in Dar es Salaam and one of the regional field offices in Tanga, where the trial will be coordinated from. Different sites were visited in the region, such several Referral Hospitals and an insectary where insect cultures are being grown and tested on their resistance on insecticides, biting behavior and the effectiveness of impregnated bed nets.