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AU Strengthens its Contribution to Global Efforts to Eradicate Malaria

The unit is an “insectary-in-a-box’ facility fabricated from a 40-foot container.

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“Africa University is…an important partner in making (malaria) eradication a reality … ,” says Mharakurwa.

Africa University is poised to deliver critical data for reducing malaria deaths and provide new knowledge for controlling mosquitos and the diseases that they transmit in Africa and around the world.

Your support of the Africa University Fund helps transform Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent through Africa University.

The United Methodist-related institution is now home to the first and only university-based insectary in Zimbabwe—a laboratory for rearing, housing and studying live insects, such as mosquitos.

The university took delivery of the first of three state-of-the-art insectary units to be housed at its Mutare, Zimbabwe campus in October. The unit is an “insectary-in-a-box’ facility fabricated from a 40-foot container, with distinct rooms for housing reference vector mosquito colonies as well as handling mosquitos collected from the field. It was built to host a “reference” colony of up to one million non-malaria carrying mosquitos and to serve as a national holding unit for laboratory-acclimatized mosquitos. The insectary will support research on insecticide resistance and the effectiveness of malaria control tools such as indoor residual spraying, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, etc.

“Africa University is…an important partner in making (malaria) eradication a reality because of our work in the community and our willingness to avail our facilities and expertise wherever they are needed,” said Sungano Mharakurwa, head of the university’s Malaria Research Unit and dean of the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences.

Cutting-edge training and innovation that have a direct impact on disease control and public health; and an appreciable contribution to fighting malaria and other insect-borne diseases and eventually, eliminating these diseases within and beyond Africa.

The insectary was funded by the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is a key resource for a partnership between Africa University and Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in Zimbabwe. The installation of the unit follows training for Africa University students and staff and scientists from Zimbabwe’s National Institute of Health Research, facilitated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) this past August.

Malaria is preventable and curable. Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 29% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2010. Yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that nearly half of the world’s population was at risk of malaria in its most recent (2015) report. There were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths in 2015. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths (WHO 2016).

Andra M. Stevens, Director, Communications, Africa University Development Office

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Africa University Fund transforms Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent through Africa University, the first fully accredited, United Methodist-related educational institution on the continent. The Africa University Fund supports the general operating expenses of Africa University including faculty and staff salaries and vital infrastructure. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Africa University Fund at 100 percent.

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