It’s been 15 years of promoting global co-ordination and collaboration in malaria research. In these years, MIM via its unique organizational structure consisting of multiple supporting mechanisms (MIM/TDR, MIMCOM, MR4 and MIMSEC) converging to strengthen researchers in malaria endemic countries, has been very influential in;
- Developing sustainable malaria research capacity in Africa through funding high quality research,
- Strengthening knowledge transfer between malaria research and control,
- Raising public awareness of the malaria burden and
- Promoting global communication and cooperation between organizations and individuals.
Importantly, MIM has played a significant role in attracting additional funds into malaria research and building research capacity in Africa. An assessment of the MIM/TDR research capability strengthening program in 2007 revealed that 69 competitive grants for research and training had been awarded to 56 African principal investigators working in 33 institutions across Africa. Most of the grants involved national and international collaboration and supported projects which focused on local priorities with potential impact on malaria control. With each grant awarded, funds were allocated to support masters and doctoral training.
A total of a hundred and seven PhD, 96MSc, and 15MPH students were trained within the projects. The projects also offered the acquisition of new skills, competencies through workshops and attachment to more advanced laboratories in collaborating institutions. Some of the funded projects contributed to the pool of evidence that informed national decisions on;
- Antimalarial treatment policy,
- Insecticide resistance profiles and
- New strategies for effective malaria control.
Likewise, MIM Com with the overarching goal of enhancing communication and internet connectivity, successfully established internet connectivity through satellite- based transmission in 27 sites across 14 countries throughout the African continent. Through the activities of MR4, several African research laboratories have benefited from the free reagents, participated in MR4 organized workshops on the management of reagents, proprietary and ethical issues and quality control for African malaria research laboratories.
The MIM has also created unprecedented opportunities for interaction between scientists across Africa, America, Europe and Asia. From its first meeting in Dakar, Senegal, the MIM meetings have grown in size and quality making it the convener of the largest malaria gathering in the world. What an amazing trajectory over the last 15 years! This strong pool of researchers, program managers, bilateral and multilateral institutions facilitates discussions on issues in malaria research and control, sharing of results from findings, sharing of best practices, and the forging of new collaborations.