Category Archives: MIM2013

Human Resources for Malaria

Two major international meetings are coming up in the next two months. One if the Multilateral Initiative for Malaria’s 6th Pan-African Malaria Conference (MIM2013) and the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health.  Neither apparently cross-reference the other.  None of the Plenary Sessions or Symposiums at MIM2013 explicitly address the crucial need of appropriate human resources to eliminate malaria, though we are sure it will be woven in to several presentations.

Nigeria CDD performs RDT in Upenekang Community Ibeno LGA Akwa Ibom State 2One of the most prominent focal points for malaria human resources arises from the effort to expand integrated Community Case Management (iCCM). The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene features a special supplement launched at its 2012 annual Conference on iCCM.  The most interesting aspect of the iCCM movement is the innovative task shifting that is occurring to bring malaria and other disease solutions to the grassroots through a variety of auxiliary health workers and community volunteers. It has become clear that malaria treatment coverage cannot meet targets  – either the 2010 Roll Back Malaria goal or 80%, let alone the push toward universal coverage – without involving non-formal providers such as volunteer community health workers (CHWs) as well as patent medicine shop staff.

But finding human resources for treatment tasks is only the tip of the iceberg.  A variety of health workers are needed for malaria work in the areas of entomology/vector control, health information systems/surveillance, and laboratory/diagnosis, to name three.

The Global Health Workforce Alliance did issue a report in 2011 that questioned the ability of countries to meet Millennium Development Goal number 6 – reducing the inpact of HIV, TB, Malaria and other endemic diseases. Issues such as the distribution of health workers in a country were raised – especially the challenge of meeting the needs of rural areas where malaria is more common.

Training has a major role to play. When Jhpiego/MCHIP began a 3-year effort with USAID to improve malaria services in Burkina Faso in 2009, they found a need to provide in-service training on malaria for newly graduated nurses and midwives. An examination of the curricula of the various cadres and branches of the National School for Public Health (ENSP) found a paucity of malaria content, especially content that reflected current national malaria guidelines from the Ministry of Health. This led to work with the ENSP to set up a planning committee to update the malaria components of its curricula.

DSCN3798 Ghana smWHO has a variety of training materials on issues and cadres ranging from strengthening malaria laboratory workers, entomology and vector control staff, as well as the basic training of health workers involved in malaria case management.

In addition to issues of health worker number are the issues of retention and performance quality. Researchers in Kenya are undertaking a study that will test whether a pay-for-performance (P4P) will improve malaria case management. Pay incentives might aid retention as well as improve quality of care. We need more such efforts to tackle the coverage gaps in malaria service delivery.  This also means addressing the human resource gaps among malaria researchers in national institutes and universities in endemic countries.

We need to use every forum available to discuss human resources for malaria control, elimination and eradication. The scourge of malaria will linger as long as we lack the quantity and quality of human resources to fight the disease.

MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference is Coming

MIMThe main program for 6th MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference is available at the Medical Research Council website: http://mim2013.mrc.ac.za/programme.htm. We will be using #MIM2013 to share tweets. The conference runs from 6-11 October 2013 in Durban, South Africa. There will be a variety of presentation formats including Plenaty sessions, symposia, parallel scientific sessions and poster sessions/exhibits.  Many partners will be hosting special events.

Plenaries will highlight the current status of malaria intervention as well as look toward the future. In that vein several sessions address malaria elimination as for example …

  • Plenary Lecture VII by Prof Alan Magill “Strategies for realising malaria elimination and eventual eradication”
  • Plenary Lecture V by Dr Robert Newman“From a one-size-fits-all to a tailored approach for malaria control and elimination.”
  • Symposium 19: Targeting malaria elimination in Zanziba. Prof Anders Bjorkman
  • Symposium 58: Malaria eradication: identifying and targeting the residual parasite pool Mr Simon Kunene
  • Symposium 41: The final decade of malaria in Africa: planning for the endgame

There are sessions on case management issues ranging from severe malaria to better diagnostics. The role of the private sector is addressed. Vector biology and entomology are featured.

Not only will there be formal media coverage of events, including interviews with key players in malaria control and elimination, but the Roll Back Malaria partnership is mobilizing its Working Group members and partners to provide a full range of social media exposure for MIM events on Facebook, twitter and various blogs.  Keep your eyes on this page for the latest updates as news is being released.