Sights Set on Malaria Eradication: Traditional and Religious Leaders Convene with National Governments, Leading Scientists, and Communities Affected by Malaria at 2020 Isdell:Flowers Round Table

30 Mar 2020 - 09:45
Dr. Kelly Chibale presents at the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative's 2020 Round Table in Livingstone, Zambia. Neville Isdell, donor to the H3D, is seen listening intently on the right.
Image 1: Dr. Kelly Chibale presents at the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative's 2020 Round Table in Livingstone, Zambia. Neville Isdell, donor to the H3D, is seen listening intently on the right.

Kelly Chibale, Founder and Director of H3D and Neville Isdell Chair, and Nina Lawrence, Senior Investigator, presented at the J.C. Flowers Foundation’s Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative’s 2020 Round Table on February 27th and 28th in Livingstone, Zambia. The duo, who spoke on a panel discussing scientific highlights in the field of malaria elimination, described the importance of developing new medicines for malaria elimination and eradication with an African-centric design.

During his remarks, Dr. Kelly Chibale drew attention to the absence of the African population in global drug research.

“The African population are not really participants in this entire process, he explained. “Think about clinical trials in general. Less than 2% of clinical trials actually happen in Africa. The implication of that is that the African patient population does not get the full benefit of the data that comes out of clinical trials. Medicines are never really optimized for the population.” 

This notion is especially important for malaria research, since malaria disproportionately burdens the African population. Lawrence expanded on the theme of inclusion in her presentation about optimizing medicine for African patients and discussed H3D’s work to resolve this issue.

Dr. Kelly Chibale (center) and Nina Lawrence (second from right) speak on a panel covering the scientific highlights within the field of malaria elimination at the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative's 2020 Round Table in Livingstone, Zambia

Image 2: Dr. Kelly Chibale (center) and Nina Lawrence (second from right) speak on a panel covering the scientific highlights within the field of malaria elimination at the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative's 2020 Round Table in Livingstone, Zambia

“[H3D is] trying to enhance cross-disciplinary partnerships and collaborations across medical, pharmacology, genetics, and bioinformatics disciplines to develop the knowledge and skills base of African scientists to build on the capabilities of the African continent,” Lawrence said.

The theme of the 2020 IFCBMI Round Table was “Zero Malaria Starts with Me: Engaging my Community” and focused on the important role or all stakeholders, regardless of background, in contributing to malaria eradication.

Chibale drew upon this theme and emphasized the need for increased engagement between communities who will use malaria medication and the scientific community at large and posed questions for thought to the audience about how to best collaborate within the field and among interdisciplinary partners.

Dr. Kelly Chibale presents at the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative's 2020 Round Table in Livingstone, Zambia

Image 3: Dr. Kelly Chibale presents at the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative's 2020 Round Table in Livingstone, Zambia

“It’s not just about partnerships of the community and the church, but also at the scientific level, it’s about partnerships,” he said. “How do we leverage expertise, how do we minimize duplication, how do we consolidate resources, expertise, and finances that are required in a business where there aren’t significant financial returns?”

He noted that communities affected by malaria also have a role in drug discovery: participating in malaria research. But in order for that to happen, they must understand the importance of this research. By coming together in partnership and collaboration, as was done at the 2020 Isdell:Flowers Round Table, community members and scientists alike recognize that every person has a role to play in malaria elimination and each person must each engage their own community fully to advance progress towards eradication.

Please read the full article covering the 2020 Isdell:Flowers Round Table here.

photo credit to J.C. Flowers Foundation