RAM and Malaria: Oops there goes a billion-kilowatt dam

Dr Kerre Willsher, D9510 RAM Blogger

We hope that everyone is well and head butting that Covid 19.  At the moment, I am employed at a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) distribution centre. The RATs are theoretically similar to the malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) except that drops of blood are used for the RDT. Many countries use RDT as part of malaria surveillance, including the Solomon Islands project for Active Case Detection (ACD) of malaria in Mataniko, Honiara.   However, this malaria elimination project is on hold at the moment due to Covid 19. Covid 19 has disrupted malaria elimination in many countries contributing to approximately additional 47,000 of 627,000  deaths worldwide in 2020, up from 405,000 in 2018 (World Health Organization, 2019, 2021).

However, at the recent executive meeting RAM demonstrated that it head butts barriers. The Northern Region has been busy planning the 2022 RAM Conference in Brisbane.  The list of speakers is amazing.  The International Rotary Convention along with the RAM Australia, RAM Global and Malaria Partners International signature event is on track for June 2022. Then it is Australia’s turn to host the Rotary International Convention and the RAWCS-RAM Finish the Fight Campaign’s two-Day Malaria Congress in Melbourne, 25-26 May 2023.

On the Western front July 1st, 2023, is D Day when Rotary District 9423 will be born, encompassing all of Western Australia. The Western Region aims to ensure that the amalgamation will include a Working Committee that collaborates to provide improved coverage, and enhanced Rotary Club participation accompanied by increased fundraising to continue the Zero Malaria project in West Timor, NTT Indonesia. It will be zoom zoom and nothing will make that RAM scram. The Rotary Global Grant for Zero malaria West Timor Indonesia NTT is getting off to a good start with RAM-Global RAG donating US $21,000. The Rotary Club of Kupang Central D3420 is the local host Club, St Hillarys Rotary Club is the international host and RAM Australia, and the Indonesian national and provincial health departments are involved.

Mosquito resistance to insecticides has become a problem in recent years.  Dr Bruce Anderson reported on an insecticide that causes mozzies to get cramps in their wings leaving them unable to fly.  Walking is not an option apparently.  The insecticide is called Chlorfenapyr and was used in combination with pyrethroid in bed net research trials in Tanzania. Malaria prevalence was reduced by 43% in the first year and 37% in the second year of the trial compared with pyrethrin alone (Rigby, 2022).  The World Health Organization has pre-qualified the use of the new insecticide combination, and the trial was financed by the British Government and the Wellcome Trust, who both can butt a dam (Rigby, 2022; World Health Organization, 2017).  You may have seen Chlorfenapyr around as it has been used in termite extermination and in gardens for many years. It is possible that you have some in the shed, make sure to thoroughly read the label though as it is toxic if not used correctly.

 Apologies to Frank Sinatra (Jonk, nd.). [1]

Mosquito net in a rice field in Tanzania.  Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Baz Ratner

[1] Dr Kerre has very cleverly woven the Frank Sinatra song ‘High Hopes’ into the Blog above. Thanks, Kerre! Read the lyrics here: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/franksinatra/highhopes.html

Jonk, L. (nd.). Frank Sinatra-High Hopes Lyrics. Lyrics Jonk. Retrieved April 22, 2022 from https://lyricsjonk.com/frank-sinatra-high-hopes.html

Rigby, J. (2022, April 22, 2022). New bed nets that ‘ground’ mosquitoes could boost malaria fight. Future of Health. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/new-bed-nets-that-ground-mosquitoes-could-boost-malaria-fight-2022-03-24/?taid=623d179c9443840001c8655c&utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=trueanthem&utm_source=twitter

World Health Organization. (2017). WHO SPECIFICATIONS AND EVALUATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH PESTICIDES: CHLORFENAPYR 4-bromo-2-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-ethoxymethyl-5-trifluoromethyl-1H-pyrrole-3-carbonitrile. United Nations. https://extranet.who.int/pqweb/sites/default/files/vcp-documents/WHOVC-SP_Chlorfenapyr_2017.pdf

World Health Organization. (2019). World malaria report 2019 U. Nations. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241565721

World Health Organization. (2021). World malaria report 2021. United Nations. https://www.who.int/teams/global-malaria-programme/reports/world-malaria-report-2021