Master’s programme

In 2014, Arba Minch University established the first Master’s programme in Medical Entomology and Vector Control in Ethiopia.

Some recent publications written by these master’s students are:

Yigezu E, Wondale B, Abebe D, Tamiru G, Eligo N, Lindtjørn B, Gadisa E, Tadesse FG, Massebo F. Malaria misdiagnosis in the routine health system in Arba Minch area district in southwest Ethiopia: an implication for malaria control and elimination. Malar J. 2023 Sep 14;22(1):273. doi: 10.1186/s12936-023-04711-2.

Ayele S, Wegayehu T, Eligo N, Tamiru G, Lindtjørn B, Massebo F. Maize pollen diet enhances malaria mosquito longevity and infectivity to Plasmodium parasites in Ethiopia. Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 2;13(1):14490. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-41826-7.

Ayele T, Wondale B, Tamiru G, Eligo N, Lindtjørn B, Massebo F. Infectivity of symptomatic Plasmodium vivax cases to different generations of wild-caught and laboratory-adapted Anopheles arabiensis using a membrane feeding assay, Ethiopia. Curr Res Parasitol Vector Borne Dis. 2023;4:100137. doi: 10.1016/j.crpvbd.2023.100137. 

The NCD group began collecting data

The non-communicable disease group has now received ethical IRB approval. Currently, they are testing their data collection tools, using both the Sidaamu Afoo, the prevailing language in the study area and Amharic, using the open-source KoBo Toolbox for data collection and storage.  This week, the team will start training data collectors and conduct pre-tests in a rural area of Sidama.

Malaria prevention trial in Arba Minch has been registered

Malaria and other vector-borne diseases most affect low-income people living in poorly constructed houses and poorly managed environments. A recent review on housing and vector-borne diseases indicates that housing improvement protects people against malaria and dengue infection. Our previous studies on housing intervention reduced the indoor density of vectors and malaria incidence. Interestingly, improved housing protects everybody inside the house, can easily be integrated with existing interventions, reduces exposure to pollutants, and can improve indoor ventilation. To this end, the housing intervention we consider the pushing factor (diverting mosquitoes away from where people live) is supplemented by interventions that attract mosquitoes (pulling factors). Ivermectin is widely used to control endo- and ectoparasites of animals and treatment of filarial nematode parasites of humans. Several studies have also shown the efficacy of ivermectin against malaria vectors.

Although there is evidence of the cost-effectiveness of house screening intervention against malaria, combining house screening with Ivermectin cattle care still needs to be determined. We hypothesise that these novel push-pull malaria control interventions can make a measurable change in malaria incidence, the indoor and outdoor density of malaria vectors, and human exposure, reducing household poverty due to less sickness.

The primary objective of this trial is to determine whether house screening and ivermectin administration to households with cattle reduce malaria incidence among all age groups compared to the groups using conventional malaria control tools. The primary outcome variable of the study will be the incidence of malaria among all age groups in intervention groups compared with the control arm. Epidemiologic and serologic endpoints will be measured by screening study participants every four months for two consecutive years.

Furthermore, a bimonthly entomological assessment will be done in each arm for two years. We shall also measure human exposure to mosquito bites and malaria parasites by assessing serological markers and the entomological indices of malaria. The interventions’ durability, community acceptance, and cost-effectiveness will be considered. Multidimensional household poverty reduction due to malaria intervention will be evaluated.

Registration for the trial is at The Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR) with registration number PACTR202306667462566

Sidama malaria surveillance project

The work aims to improve malaria surveillance and thus help health authorities reduce malaria. The study will enhance locally relevant evidence-based initiatives and inform Ethiopia’s malaria prevention and control efforts.

The local Ministry of Health and Hawassa University researchers collaborate on the project. Dr Tarekegn Solomon from Hawassa University is the lead investigator, and PhD students Misganu Endriyas and Teka Samuel from the Ministry of Health. Dr Taye Gari and Professor Bernt Lindtjørn are researchers.

Data collectors’ practical training is shown below.

Start of malaria prevetion trial in Arba Minch

A few days ago, the Malaria research group in Arba Minch met with the official community leaders. They had a stimulating conversation with the chairman and officials of 14 kebeles, representatives from the two district agricultural and human health offices, officials from the zonal health and agriculture department, and managers of the health centres. There were 23 people present during the meeting. The leaders advised that further consultations should include neighbourhood organisations and religious leaders, which will be done in the coming weeks.