Africa must not rest until Malaria rests: What is the role of emerging technologies?

R. Oronje,  AFIDEP,  2021.

As we mark the World Mosquito Day today, it is a sad reminder that Malaria still kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, majority of these people in Africa. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Malaria killed 409,000 people in 2019, and 94% of these deaths were in Africa. For those who survive the disease, they have many horrifying tales to tell because many get Malaria every so often, especially for those living in Malaria endemic regions. I have many horrifying tales of my experience with Malaria because I grew up in the Malaria-endemic region of Western Kenya. One of these tales is when I passed out in school when I was in Primary-4 because I had refused to take the very bitter Quinine tablets. My Mum was called to take me to hospital and by the time she arrived, I was in “hallucination mode” because all I remember is seeing two Mums lifting me up; and the next time I woke up, I was in a nearby health facility. My parents still live in this region, which means I visit them often and so every time I visit Western Kenya without taking prophylaxis, I can be sure I will come back with Malaria. But this blog is not about my horrifying Malaria tales, so I will not delve much more into that. Although many people in sub-Saharan Africa have suffered from Malaria, many are not aware of ongoing efforts to develop and test new tools with potential to eliminate Malaria. In a recent study by the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) on the “Landscape and Political Economy Analysis of Emerging Health Technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa”, we found that apart from the researchers developing these new tools and their funding agencies, other stakeholders including journalists, civil society actors, and policymakers know little, if anything, about the ongoing research on emerging health technologies, including those technologies being developed with potential to eliminate Malaria.

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