Latest research on the long-term effects of malaria

Chris Moxon, clinical lecturer at Liverpool University, has just published a study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that shows there may be a link between repeated bouts of malaria in children and a greater likelihood of them becoming ill later in life with other illnesses like cardiovascular disease (read more in this LSTM article).

This is because their blood vessels become inflamed when they have malaria, and they may remain inflamed throughout their life making them leaky and susceptible to blocking with fat. He suggests the possibility of treating the children with statins in the future to help reduce the inflammation, and prevent further disease.

I was particularly interested in this study which was carried out on 190 children in Blantyre, Malawi, because I used to live there, and my brother also caught malaria while we were there.

 

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Great news which will save a life every 3 seconds

image from http://resultsuk.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/global-fund-logo.gif

I was really excited to read in the news here that Justine Greening, the international development secretary, has announced that the UK will support the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next three years with a pledge of £1 billion, if the overall target of $15 billion is met from other governments and donors. Barack Obama has promised $1.65 billion for 2014 and Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland have each pledged $750 million. Now, other governments like Australia, Canada and Germany will hopefully follow suit and match the UK’s offer.

If they do, it means that the UK will be able to deliver 32 million mosquito nets with the potential to protect over 64 million people (equivalent to the entire UK population) and save a life every 3 seconds. They will also be able to fund lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy for 750,000 people living with HIV and TB treatment for more than a million people. The Global Fund is estimated to have saved more than 8.7 million lives since it was set up.

I am particularly happy about this announcement as I feel I have played a small part in it myself. Back in March this year, I wrote to my MP asking him to ask Justine Greening to increase Britain’s support for the Global Fund. You can read my letter to him here.

I received a reply here and also an invitation from Jeremy Lefroy to go to Westminster to make a presentation to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG), which you can read about here.

I am really proud of the part I have played in this news today, and I hope that one day soon there will be no more malaria in the world.

 

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My World Malaria Day Presentation

APPMG meeting - Megan with Jeremy Lefroy

On Tuesday evening I travelled down to London to give a presentation about malaria to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG), in Westminster. The event was organized by Jeremy Lefroy, chair of the APPMG, to mark World Malaria Day on 25th April.

I first met Jeremy, when I went to Auschwitz with the Holocaust Education Trust, in February, and I discovered that, like me, he had spent time growing up in Africa. I wrote to him a few weeks later, asking him to continue to support the UK’s commitment to help halve malaria deaths in at least 10
 of the world’s most affected countries by 2015, and to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. It’s already saved almost 9 million lives, but 
desperately needs topping up if it’s to continue its vital work.

I was delighted and surprised to receive a reply from the Secretary of State for International Development, as well as an invitation from Jeremy to speak about my experience at the APPMG World Malaria Day event in Westminster.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at the Houses of Parliament, but I was warmly welcomed by Jeremy, and he asked me to speak first. There were many people attending the event, including MPs and global health experts, and the theme of the evening was ‘Invest in The Future: Defeat Malaria’.

I talked about my own experience of malaria, when I was living in Malawi, and about my brother, who contracted the disease, despite the numerous efforts that we took to protect ourselves. Luckily, he was fit, strong, and had access to a private hospital where he received quick, life-saving treatment and was able to recover. But unfortunately 1,500 children still die every day from the disease, even though it’s both preventable and treatable. At the moment, the best prevention for children is to sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, which can be bought, delivered and hung for just £5. However, I feel that, until there’s a vaccine to totally eradicate the disease, children are going to continue to slip through the net, and even one child dying from malaria is too many.

The next speaker was Dr Rob Newman, Head of the Global Malaria Programme, at the World Health Organisation (WHO), and he gave an overview of malaria today. Other panelists included Dr. Shunmay Yeung, deputy director of the ACT Consortium and a clinical senior lecturer at the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine, who talked about diagnostics; Dr Tim Wells, Chief Scientist for the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), who discussed progress on drug discovery; Dr David Kaslow, director of PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) who talked about new technologies on the horizon; and Dr Kolawole Maxwell, director of the Malaria Consortium Nigeria Programme who focused on implementation of his programmes on the ground.

I was incredibly honoured to take part in such an important evening, and I hope that my small actions might go some way to helping there be malaria no more.

You can support Malaria No More by going to my Just Giving page.

 

Roll Back Malaria "World

Roll Back Malaria World Malaria Day 2009
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All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases

Today I received an email from Susan Dykes, coordinator of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG).  Jeremy Lefroy showed her the letter I wrote to him and she has invited me to take part in their World Malaria Day event on 23rd April, in Westminster.

image from http://www.elca.org/~/media/Images/Our%20Faith%20In%20Action/Responding%20to%20the%20World/Malaria/world_malaria_day_2013.jpg

The APPMG hold regular monthly meetings and invite experts in the field of malaria and tropical diseases to talk and debate with parliamentarians, to try to find both urgent and long term solutions to malaria. They also discuss new ideas and new technologies and methods of field work in the battle against malaria and other treatable diseases.

They take evidence from academic, governmental, international agency, charitable, private sector, professional and other people. Each year they publish an annual report of the evidence gathered by the world’s leading professionals, in order to try to eradicate malaria for good. Jeremy Lefroy is the chairman of the APPMG. 

I’m really excited about going and taking part in the event, as I shall not only learn more about what’s being done to prevent malaria, but also meet some interesting people from different fields.

image from http://blogs.elca.org/malaria/files/2012/03/world-malaria-day2.jpg

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