Scientists from around the world met in Beijing Tuesday to try and find ways to control malaria in the face of insecticide resistant mosquitoes.
The third annual meeting of the African Network for Vector Resistance to Insecticides attracted delegates from over 20 countries. Malaria kills more than 2.7 million people a year.
Malaria claims at least one person every 30 seconds in Africa. Women and children are the most vulnerable with 2,500 children under five years dying of the disease daily.
According to the meeting, Malawi is one those countries hardest hit, as Malaria is the biggest killer in that country.
John Chiphwanya, former national manager of the country's Malaria program, said that they have stepped up the use of insecticides of bed nets, especially for pregnant women and children under five.
However, like in many other African countries, the lack of financing is a set back.
Earlier this year, an annual gathering of medical researchers reported that sub-Saharan Africa alone will need between 130 billion rand (about US$13 billion) and 580 billion rand (about US$58 billion) a year to roll back the Malaria pandemic.
Thus, Maureen Cotzee, head of Medical Entomology at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, said that there is a critical need for capacity building.
Nevertheless, it is not only finances and resources that are a problem. Insecticide resistance is hampering attempts to bring the disease under control.
The World Health Organization recommends the use of an insecticide called Pierythroid in bed nets. The problem, however, is that in many countries mosquitoes are resistant to the insecticide.
Over the next four days delegates attending the African Network Vector Resistance to Insecticides will identify where insecticide resistance occurs and where is it most extensive.
They will share the available knowledge and start implementing necessary research work to find solutions to control Africa's biggest killer.
(People's Daily October 30, 2002)