His Excellency Dr. Dereje Duguma, State Minister of Health of The Federal Ministry of Health has Inaugurated the former ‘Nazareth World Health Organization Malaria Training Centre’ as ‘Malaria and NTD Research and Training Center’ on April 29, 2022 and handed over its administration to the Armauer Hansen Research Institute. The event was colorfully celebrated in the presence of senior government officials from federal and regional institutions, representatives of development partners, and former laboratory technicians and trainers of the center. The Center will serve as knowledge hub and knowledge sharing center, and will have far reaching implications in capacity building, in research and development, in dissemination of findings, and in many more.
In his welcoming remarks, Professor Afework Kassu Gizaw, Director General of Armauer Hansen Research Institute, indicated the substantial progresses made in controlling malaria worldwide as seen by declines in malaria-related mortality and morbidity. He underscored the successes in Ethiopia to the national scale-up of malaria control interventions, which are by and large results of the superb coordination and leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health. Important milestones are the introduction of rapid diagnostic tests for diagnosis, adoption of artemisinin-based combination therapy for treatment, mass distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, and deployment of health extension workers.
He also highlighted the need to focus on newly emerging challenges in Ethiopia and in the region including 1) the spread of Anopheles stephensi, 2) the high prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum parasites with hrp2/3 gene deletion, 3) the recent emergence of P. falciparum parasites with artemisinin drug resistance, 4) the very high prevalence of P. vivax in the region and 5) the widespread presence of mosquitoes with insecticide resistance, which are threatening the major successes achieved in the last two decades.
The DG also pinpointed the recently established Ethiopian Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network (EMAGEN) as an important platform to leverage existing capacities at AHRI, EPHI, EBTI and NMEP of FMoH to support informed decision making in malaria prevention, control and elimination endeavors not only in Ethiopia but also in neighboring countries in the continent.
The Center’s inauguration was joined by the launching of “Surveillance for Malaria Elimination (S4ME)” in Ethiopia, a USAID supported $9.5 million USD project implemented by PATH. We invite all stakeholders to collaborate with the Center to achieve the common goals of malaria and NTDs control and elimination.