Aiming to establish a research station in Malawi – Developing surveillance tools to monitor vectors and viruses for reemerging infectious diseases

Yoshihide Maekawa, Visiting Researcher, Institute of Tropical Medicine
JICA Expert

Malawi is a country of 13.2 million people and is bordered by Zambia, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Lake Malawi accounts for approximately 20% of the country’s area and is believed to be the home to over 500 endemic fish species. It is also known as the mecca for schistosomiasis. In Northern Malawi, there are said to be many cases of sleeping sickness, while in the South there are said to be a disproportionate amount of cases of filariasis. There are various diseases and illnesses affecting the people of Malawi, but there is little actual academic evidence as to what the causes are.

The JICA-JSPS Project is a part of the ODA. Through this project, research bases in developing countries will be constructed so that local researchers can communicate and share information with outside researchers to help improve advances in development. What makes this project truly unique is that Nagasaki University, JSPS, and the Japanese embassy in Malawi are all working together. This marks the first time that research on the mosquitoes of Malawi was conducted, and it was found that three genera along with nine different species of mosquitoes were responsible for spreading a total of eight different diseases. Furthermore, one virus that is suspected of causing disease is currently being studied, with no conclusion having yet been reached. If it is confirmed that this virus is, in fact, responsible for the disease, it will be the first recorded case of such an event in Malawi’s history.

 

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