With welcoming words from Antoni Plasència, ISGlobal director, and Francesc Cardellach, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona, the fifth edition of the ‘Science ofEradication: Malaria’ course was inaugurated on June 12. It is the second time that the course, organized by ISGlobal, the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, takes place in Barcelona, and this year it has brought together 53 participants from 31 countries across the world.
After the welcome speech, professors Dyann Wirth (TH Chan Harvard School of Public Health, Marcel Tanner (Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute) and Pedro Alonso (World Health Organization) paid tribute to Alan Magill and Ned Hayes, whose recent loss is greatly felt by the malaria community.
Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme and founder of ISGlobal, introduced his speech by highlighting the “unprecedented achievements” in the fight against the disease over the last 15 years, with a 60% decrease in mortality and 37% decrease in the number of cases globally. He also referred to the main current challenges in terms of funding – he stated that the budget for fighting against the disease needs to be triplicated in the following years – and of the “enormous coverage gaps that still exist”, as well as the threat posed by emerging resistances. During his talk, he presented the key aspects of the global strategy for malaria that he leads at WHO and reviewed the currently available tools for its elimination. “Malaria is not only something we have to deal with, it is a problem that requires solutions” he underlined.
The opening session of the course concluded with a lecture by Regina Rabinovich, director of the Malaria Elimination Initiative at ISGlobal, who pointed out that, much like Hernán Cortés did in 1519 and in accordance with the ancient Greeks’ war strategies, shifting the paradigm from malaria control to its elimination implies “burning the ships”. With no room for failure, the only possible way out is the interruption of disease transmission at a global scale.
The course will last 7 days during which a wide scope of themes relevant to malaria elimination will be discussed, including parasite and vector biology, new strategies in vaccination, diagnosis, treatment and vector control, and economic and social determinants of the disease.
Science of Eradication: Malaria. A Leadership Development Course