"While the work of scientists from outside Africa continues to be critical, the fact remains that African malaria researchers need to be involved in parallel if we are going to successfully implement new research findings and begin to reverse the situation in malaria endemic countries," said Andreas Heddini, secretariat coordinator for MIM.
MIM is an international organization dedicated solely to building a sustainable malaria research infrastructure in Africa. This year it will officially move its headquarters to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, under the auspices of the African Malaria Network Trust (AMANET).
A 1999 MIM survey reported that there were only 752 trained malaria researchers in sub-Saharan Africa, the area of the continent that each year endures the brunt of the world's 500 million malaria infections and 2.7 million deaths. The number of scientists is growing, Heddini said, noting that there are 1,000 African malaria researchers attending this week's MIM conference in Yaound. But he said many more malaria experts are needed, and, to keep them in Africa, they must be supported by a system that can provide sustainable long-term funding and adequate facilities.
MIM is calling for a new initiative that would focus on competitively awarded long-term grants that would be dedicated to developing new "centers of excellence" in malaria endemic areas of Africa. These centers would serve as hubs for training new scientists and assembling interdisciplinary teams for conducting malaria re