The Malaria Institute at Macha, which operates in collaboration with the Malaria Research Institute at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public, was recently recognized as an Outstanding Health Research Institution at the 8th Zambia National Health Research Conference. The conference took place Oct. 15-17 in the Zambian capital of Lusaka.
The award recognizes research institutions in Zambia with a consistent level of rigor and scholarship in health research. The Malaria Institute at Macha encompasses a malaria research field station and training center that has access to a 208-bed hospital, and operates and manages a molecular biology lab, an insectary and an outdoor mosquito house. The mosquito house is based on a modified greenhouse that simulates a natural mosquito ecosystem enabling the validation of laboratory-based research findings and their further exploration under semi-field conditions.
Also at the conference, Dr. Phil Thuma, senior scientist in the Bloomberg School’s department of molecular microbiology and immunology and the Malaria Research Institute, received the Professor Chifumbe Chintu International Senior Researcher award. The award recognizes international researchers working in Zambia that have made a significant impact in Zambia’s health research.
Dr. Thuma carries out research projects and other programs and provides clinical care for pediatric patients in the Macha Hospital children’s ward, and also sees pediatric AIDS patients one day a week in the hospital’s AIDS clinic as part of an on-going prospective cohort study of children with HIV.
The Malaria Institute at Macha (also known as Macha Research Trust) was established in 2003 with the signing of a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and its Malaria Research Institute, the Zambian government, the Macha Mission Hospital and the Macha Malaria Research Institute. A large number of privately and publicly funded studies have been carried out at Macha, including those on malaria transmission, diagnosis, drug evaluation and treatment. More than 100 peer-reviewed publications have come from work done by scientists working at Macha since 2005. Macha was recently mentioned in an article in the prestigious journal Nature as an example of a place where building trust with the community has proved important to overcome malaria.