The 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) conference served as an opportunity to review MIM’s 20 years of contribution to the global goal of ending malaria in Africa, to better address current malaria research and control priorities. The conference was held at the prestigious Dakar International Conference Centre Abdou Diouf Senegal. Over 2500 malariologists attended the conference. All aspects of malaria research were covered, from molecular biology to malaria elimination policies.
The conference was held under the theme Dakar II: Two decades of progress, challenges and perspectives in ending Malaria; Leading and emerging malaria researchers were provided with a platform to showcase their research achievements, share experiences and novel ideas as well as establish new research collaborations. The conference crated a platform for young African scientists to interact with malaria experts.
During one of the session on monitoring Plasmodium diversity for malaria elimination in Africa, Dr Alfred Amambua Ngwa, from The MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, presented ideas for exploring and developing new approaches to mine data from Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) affiliated sites. In particular, he highlighted the potential use of optimised clustering by machine learning, the detection of ancestry and parasite flow, and the detection of markers of adaptation to interventions. He also raised some questions such as why some individuals are more susceptible to malaria than others, or why and how drug resistance develops. He further raised the need to improve methods for tracking the spread of drug resistance across sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of his talk, he emphasized the need to continue to engage African scientists to improve efforts to monitor the diversity of malaria parasites in Africa.