Month February 2014

Month February 2014

Akros wins MESA grant

`Andy Prinsen February 27, 2014
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Akros has been awarded a grant from the Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) to continue the push towards malaria elimination in Lusaka, Zambia. The grant of almost USD $200,000 will be used to 1) Develop risk maps of residual transmission and the risk of onward transmission from imported malaria cases and 2) Assess sensitivity of risk maps to target malaria interventions to stop the importation and spread of malaria transmission in Lusaka, Zambia.

Malaria Indicator Surveys conducted in 2010 and 2012 found zero malaria parasite infections among children under the age of five during high transmission season. However, confirmed malaria cases were still reported at health facilities, likely due to small pockets of residual malaria transmission and malaria being transported into Lusaka through people returning to Lusaka from outlying regions. These pockets must be eliminated to achieve zero transmission and imported malaria cases must not be allowed to re-establish transmission once malaria elimination is achieved.

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Over 1,100 bicycles distributed to CHWs

`Andy Prinsen February 20, 2014
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Zambia continues to work toward the ambitious goal of eliminating malaria in five zones by 2015. To make this goal a reality, myriad partners are working together on every level from the molecular to the administrative to the on-the-ground Community Health Workers (CHWs). These CHWs are responsible for visiting houses of those who present with active malaria cases at the clinic level and then testing the neighbors in the immediate area through a program Akros helped pilot called Reactive Case Detection. Often the distance to these active cases is significant despite the large number of CHWs, and visiting every case on foot can be an overwhelming and at times unachievable task.

So last week, the Government Republic of Zambia in partnership with PATH-MACEPA, Akros and World Bicycle Relief distributed over 1,100 bicycles to community health workers across seven districts in Zambia’s southern province. The distribution ceremonies took place from February 10 – 14 and were attended by village chiefs and leaders, ministry officials and partner organizations. The ceremonies included dramas, dancing, and an official handover of each and every bicycle to the very excited CHWs.

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Akros finishes installation of advanced molecular lab

`Andy Prinsen February 18, 2014
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Akros has received the last major shipment of equipment for the newly installed molecular container lab at the Zambia National Malaria Control Centre (NMCC) through our collaborators at the Harvard School of Public Health. This lab will enable in-country technicians to perform a wide range of molecular investigations including genotypic analysis of malaria parasites and mosquito specimens, and it came at a fraction of the cost of traditionally constructed laboratories.

“For the first time, Zambia NMCC will have the resources and the throughput to perform genotypic analysis in-country,” said Dan Bridges, Director of Research for Akros. “This will expose Zambian scientists to new techniques, paradigms and enable the NMCC to remain at the forefront of understanding malaria.”

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NMCC, Akros recognized by DHIS2 creators

`Andy Prinsen February 6, 2014
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The creators of the DHIS2 platform have recognized Zambia’s National Malaria Control Center and Akros for their implementation of the DHIS2 mobile reporting system at the community level.

One long standing and successful deployment has been driven by a Malaria program run by the National Malaria Control Center in Zambia. The system is used for mobile reporting from health workers at health clinics and voluntary community health workers in the villages, with each of the two user groups reporting on key data that is relevant for their tasks and responsibilities. The project uses the DHIS Mobile Java clients for aggregate reporting, connected to a national DHIS2 instance that is also available for other projects and programs to share. The project supplies low cost mobile phones and prepaid SIM cards for health workers to report with, and the client uses mobile data (GPRS) to send information to the DHIS2 server.

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