ISGlobal mourns the death of Ogobara Doumbo, a prominent malaria scientist from Mali and a long-standing collaborator of our institution.
“We will sorely miss Professor Ogo, who was always a model of scientific excellence and personal engagement with the most vulnerable populations in West Africa,” says Clara Menéndez, ISGlobal director of the Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health Initiative, who collaborated with Doumbo. “His work was key for developing two of the most innovative strategies in the fight against malaria: intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women and seasonal chemoprohylaxis for children under five years of age. May he rest in peace.”
Doumbo was born in the Malian region of Dogon, some 800 kilometres away from Bamako. He studied Medicine in Mali and, after working as rural physician, specialised in malaria in France and the US. When he returned to his country in 1992, he funded the Malaria Research Training Centre (MRTC), currently considered as one of the leading scientific institutions in the African continent.
In addition to his research work, Doumbo was a key figure in creating scientific institutions in Mali and the rest of Africa, through a model that promoted excellence in research and the professional integration of the students in their countries of origin. This attribute was what earned the MRTC the Principe de Asturias Award on International Cooperation in 2008, a prize shared by three other African scientific institutions including the Manhiça Health Research Center (CISM) led at the time by Pedro Alonso, ISGlobal founding director, and Clara Menéndez.
Ogobara Doumbo collaborated with ISGlobal as member of the Steering Committee of the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda(malERA) and member of the Safety Committee for the MiPPAD project on the use of alternative drugs for preventing malaria in pregnant women.
“The sick people are in the villages. The malaria-related problems are in the villages. If we really want to understand the disease and fight it, we need to go back to the villages,” said Doumbo in a 2013 interview, where he recalled the traditional therapies practiced by his father and grandfather as the reason why he chose going into medicine and research.