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Are We Tracking Our Research Efforts to Eradicate Malaria?


Over the past decades, Research and Development has played a key role in driving the achievements made against malaria with the development of tools such as rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs) and long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs). We have also made great progress in our capacity to disseminate the scientific information to the malaria community; open access journals, webs, blogs, twitter, emails, conferences, publications, etc. However, one of the questions that remained pending was, “is it possible to track all current research projects focused on malaria elimination and eradication?”

Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) was born in 2012, following the footsteps of Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (MalERA) . As an alliance, MESA aims to strengthen the evidence-based approach to global malaria eradication and to create knowledge management tools that expand the impact of the research evidence. In line with this, MESA has taken on the job of developing a platform to share research projects focused on malaria elimination and eradication, the MESA Track.

MESA Track was launched in November 2014, during the conference of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH). It is a living database that has been developed in close collaboration with partners working on malaria elimination such as APMEN,CHAI, Malaria Consortium and many others which are already included in the database. MESA Track is a platform for the community and it is open for any research organization or scientist to submit their research portfolio.

The goal of MESA track is to capture research in the different geographical areas and across research disciplines (basic science, product development, implementation research, etc). For instance, the information has been organized in a way that the user can quickly find research projects on topics such as measurement of transmission, impact of interventions, asymptomatic malaria or tools to interrupt transmission.

MESA track is a first step in trying to systematically capture research efforts towards malaria eradication. As the database grows, MESA track will help to understand how much evidence there is on a particular intervention. Moreover, it will provide information about trends overtime and that information could be used to identify research gaps in the eradication agenda.

Eradicating malaria is a long term goal and it will only be possible with the coordinated efforts of partners around the globe working in multiple sectors, from scientists to ministries of health, to donors, to communities affected by malaria and many others.

[This blog was posted simultaneously on MESA’s blog on MalariaWorld and ISGlobal’s blog].