29
May

Max_P.jpgMax Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
This year’s Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation has been awarded to the organizations leading the fight against malaria in Africa, which are: The Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre (Tanzania), the Malaria Research and Training Centre (Mali), the Kintampo Health Research Centre (Ghana) and the Manhiça Centre of Health Research (Mozambique).
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I had the opportunity to spend a week at Ifakara visiting the Centre there, while doing a case study on how Novartis has been integrating corporate responsibility to the core of their strategy. There, we went more in depth on their Malaria program, supported by the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, and it certainly was very interesting to see the work being done in regards to its prevention, through social marketing and others, viewing their access to effective treatment of malaria, attacking the mosquitoes, the parasite, etc.
My most sincere congratulations to the people who have been working for the past years on this project. There’s certainly still a very long way to go but it is fundamental that their work is recognized and we can focus more our attention to the problem and its solutions.


About Malaria in the World.
There are an estimated 300 to 500 million new cases of Malaria each year, with 40% of the world’s population at risk of contracting the disease, mostly in least developed countries. Malaria is responsible for more than 1 million deaths a year, killing a child every 30 seconds, 90% of them in Africa, this according to the WHO.
About the IHRDC.
The Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre (IHRDC), in Tanzania, has been operating since 1956 as the first biomedical research centre in the field set up by the Swiss Tropical Institute, founded by Rudolf Geigy. The conditions in Ifakara, a rural settlement with a major incidence of tropical diseases, were decisive in the centre becoming permanent and it becoming involved in the national research and health systems. In 1990, the IHRDC became affiliated to the Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research, operating since 1997 as an independent, non-profit foundation. IHRDC’s significant achievements in recent years include the results of the intermittent preventative treatment in infants (IPTi) of malaria. These showed that the antimalarial drug SP administered during immunization led to a reduction in clinical episodes of 60%, in severe anemia of 50% and in hospitalizations of 30%. In addition, a consortium of researchers has been formed, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to assess these results in other countries such as Kenya, Mozambique, Gabon, Senegal, Ghana and Tanzania. The IHRDC, which is currently directed by Dr. Hassan Mshinda, is soon to change its name to the Ifakara Health Institute.
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