Lancaster Medical School shares in global funding to combat malaria

The malaria mosquito Anopheles stephensi
The malaria mosquito Anopheles stephensi

Lancaster University is part of the Malaria Modellers in Africa consortium (MaModAfrica) which has been awarded a multi-million pound contract by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

MaModAfrica is a partnership between 19 institutions from Africa, Europe, Australia and the US which are dedicated to building malaria modelling capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Luigi Sedda from the Ecology and Epidemiology Group at Lancaster Medical School will support the development of MSc courses and a PhD programme around geospatial modelling for optimal malaria surveillance and control.

He said: “This is an exciting news for us that will contribute to the reputation of Lancaster Medical School as a world centre of excellence for training and research in spatial epidemiology and tropical diseases.

“This latest award is instrumental in increasing the impact of current interventions against malaria and other infectious diseases in Africa which still kill more than one million people each year.”

The three year initiative will develop transdisciplinary and transnational masters (MSc) and doctoral (PhD) academic programs, with the aim of increasing the number of academically trained malaria modelers in sub-Saharan Africa, bridging the gap between academic modelling and operational need, and creating an open, collaborative, sustainable platform of mathematicians, statisticians, geospatial modelers, translational scientists and decision makers.

Apart from Lancaster University, the other institutions involved include the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Université d’Abomey-Calavi in Benin, Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso, Swiss Center for Scientific Research in Côte d’Ivoire, Mount Kenya University, Manhiça Health Research Centre in Mozambique, the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Center for Impact Innovation and Capacity Building in HIS and Nutrition and University of Rwanda, Thies University and the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar in Senegal, Malaria Atlas Project, Curtin University, and Telethon Kids Institute in Australia, the Clinton Health Access Initiative in US and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Medicines for Malaria Venture in Switzerland.

During the programme, 30 master students and 8 PhD students will be trained in malaria modelling for public health interventions. The programmes will start in autumn 2023.

Dr Sedda said: “We are looking forward to welcoming and hosting some of the students in the coming years.”

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