Africa Will Be Trained by Pakistan to Deal with Mosquito

News Desk3 weeks ago

The Ministry of National Health Services’ Directorate of Malaria Control (DoMC) has been chosen to host an Anopheles stephensi surveillance and control training program and capacity development program for nine African nations as part of an exchange program.

“As you know, Anopheles stephensi, an effective malaria vector that has gained notoriety due to its spread to number of African countries since 2013, particularly in Djibouti, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan, has historically been endemic to south-Asia and parts of the Middle East,” he said.

The ability of this mosquito to thrive in urban settings, he continued, represented a paradigm shift in the epidemiology of malaria, shifting the disease’s focus from being primarily an African rural illness to potentially infecting millions of city dwellers. This posed the greatest threat, he said.

However, because of their decades of expertise in monitoring and managing this mosquito, colleagues in Africa who control malaria have encouraged India and Pakistan to share their knowledge. This would greatly aid African control programs by enhancing readiness and reaction times.

Pakistan possesses very sophisticated control procedures, research capabilities, and operational research infrastructure. According to the DoMC official, “a number of carefully chosen, powerful, and decision-making candidates from impacted African countries will visit Pakistan to learn from Pakistan’s vast experience and foster partnerships to collaborate in research, surveillance, and control for mutual benefit.”

He emphasized that this visit would serve as a trial run for future exchanges with larger goals and outputs. It was also important to set an example, form partnerships, and show successful results so that funding partners would be encouraged to support future initiatives for multi-country efforts to reduce the Anopheles stephensi threat.

That being said, in May 2024, the Department of Entomology at Arid University and the Directorate of Malaria Control (DoMC) planned to host an international training session on molecular mosquito identification by PCR. The course would take place over the course of a week. The representative stated that the Directorate had been inundated with exceptionally strong curriculum vitae from youthful, dynamic entomologists around the nation.

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“We are in the process of selecting the four participants who we believe are the most qualified applicants. We are also attempting to add two or three additional Pakistani applicants through local financing sources because the rivalry amongst them is fierce.

Had said that the prospective candidates were informed that the Directorate required a very strong commitment from them for the collection and submission of mosquito samples from their chosen areas because the program would involve the PCR and DNA extraction of various species of mosquitoes and preserve them as representative samples from Pakistan.

He stated, “During course they will be trained for identification (both morphologically and through PCR),” and that the applicants have been pushed to begin their assignment for collecting and transmitting mosquitoes from their locations (regardless of the identification). We only require those enthusiastic and dedicated applicants who are currently working in vector control and surveillance in their department, just because of this devotion.

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