The Center for Applied Malaria Research and Evaluation (CAMRE) at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine will be taking a leading role in the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative: Insights for Malaria’s (PMI INFORM) new five-year $30 million operational research and program evaluation project to help partner countries ensure they are making the most effective and efficient use of resources to fight malaria and save lives.
The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) supports 24 partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa and three programs in the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia to control and eliminate malaria. They are led by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PMI delivers cost-effective, life-saving malaria intervention, such as insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, and essential medicine. They also provide technical and operational assistance that equips and empowers partner countries to end malaria.
PATH, a global nonprofit dedicated to achieving health equity, is the prime partner for PMI INFORM with a consortium of seven sub-partners, Including Tulane’s CAMRE. CAMRE will be working with the other core PATH members, which includes the University of California, San Francisco’s Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Together they will collaborate with in-country research institutions, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Global Fund, which will generate evidence and data to inform national malaria programs and the global malaria community of best practices while strengthening research capacity in PMI-supported countries around the world.
The project’s initial work will identify and facilitate stakeholder alignment around identifying operations research that will address the most pressing knowledge gaps for effectively implementing malaria control and elimination strategies. PMI INFORM will support disseminating results in a clear and actionable way so that national malaria programs and policymakers can use the latest evidence to improve malaria programming.
CAMRE was started in 2013 and is housed within the Department of Tropical Medicine at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. CAMRE has established a growing reputation for high-quality applied malaria research and program evaluation. Their interdisciplinary research in this area has resulted in over 150 peer-reviewed publications, with their findings influencing both national programs and global malaria policy.
The critical Tulane faculty working on this project will be Dr. Thom Eisele, professor of Tropical Medicine and director of CAMRE; Dr. Ruth Ashton, assistant professor of Tropical Medicine; and Dr. Joshua Yukich, assistant professor of Tropical Medicine. Several doctoral students will also likely be involved in the project.
PMI INFORM will build on previous operational research efforts. PMI INFORM will focused on improving uptake and scale-up of interventions, cost-effectively implementing combinations of interventions, preserving the effectiveness of interventions in the face of drug and insecticide resistance, measuring the success and impact of interventions, and determining how to incorporate new interventions and when to withdraw less-effective ones.
“With PMI’s guidance, we are excited to collaborate with national malaria programs, in-country research institutions, and our consortium of partners to address key questions that countries grapple with as they work to reduce the burden of malaria and keep elimination efforts on track,” said Dr. Megan Littrell, director of PMI INFORM at PATH, and an alumnus of the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
— By Becky Gipson