Category Archives: Arba Minch University

Progress of Senuph project

During the last two weeks of May, the Senuph PhD and master’s students, supervisors, and coordinators from Ethiopia and Norway met in Arba Minch and Hawassa.

The pictures show the research gatherings; the upper picture is from Arba Minch, and the lower is from Hawassa University.  (Photo: Prof Ingunn Marie S. Engebretsen).

We delved into the progress of the research components in research seminars, group discussions, and individual meetings. I’m pleased to report that our research is making significant strides forward, filling us with optimism for the future.

In addition, we started to work to strengthen the possibility of doing various kinds of mathematical modelling, especially by investigating the possible causal links between climate variability and infectious diseases or malnutrition. We hope such work will broaden our scope by including interdisciplinary teams in meteorology, environmental sciences, biology, and epidemiology.

Senuph students and staff visit Bergen

During the past six weeks, students and staff from the Senuph program at Hawassa and Arba Minch Universities attended courses at the Centre for International Health at the University of Bergen.

Ten people attended the classes and returned to Ethiopia this evening.

The upper picture shows four participants from Hawassa in the health economics course, and the lower photo shows students attending a course on experimental epidemiology visiting Magnhild and Bernt Lindtjørn.


Anopheles stephensi in Arba Minch

Anopheles stephensi is spreading rapidly to urban settings in Ethiopia. It is a common malaria-transmitting mosquito in South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula and is believed to have spread to eastern Ethiopia in 2016. However, since 2023, there have also been reports of its presence in Hawassa, and recently we detected it in Arba Minch. We have submitted this data for publication.

Much effort has been made to understand its spread and relation to its environment. Understanding how An. stephensi behaves and contributes to malaria transmission compared with the existing local vectors is critical for designing strategies for containment. Our findings in Arba Minch suggest that the rapid geographic expansion of this invasive species may be linked to major transportation corridors.

The team in Arba Minch, in collaboration with partners from Norway and the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) in Addis Ababa, has commenced work to enhance our comprehension of the behaviour of this mosquito and its role in malaria transmission. We aim to develop innovative control strategies to manage this rapidly spreading vector.

Preprint of publication:

Fekadu Massebo, Temesgen Ashine, Nigatu Negash, Thomas Minda, Bernt Lindtjørn, and Endalamaw Gadisa. The expansion of an invasive malaria vector: Anopheles stephensi detection in Arba Minch town in the southern Rift Valley of Ethiopia, 14 February 2024, PREPRINT (Version 1) available at Research Square []

See the webpage for more developments on this research.

Arba Minch University: Our collaboration with the Ministry of Health

One of our project aims is to strengthen Ethiopia’s health system. Here is an example of how this is done in malaria control.

Our collaboration with the Ministry of Health began by establishing the Master’s Programme in Medical Entomology and Vector Control in 2014. The first cohort included three health professionals from different districts. One joined the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, while the other two returned to their respective districts to strengthen the health system, particularly in controlling malaria and other vector-borne diseases.

The second cohort was diverse, with 11 members, seven of whom belonged to the public health sector. Three worked at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, two at the Armauer Hansen Research Institute, one at the regional malaria elimination programme, and the other at the district-level vector control programme.

The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth cohorts consisted of 4-5 individuals each, with members from different institutes and organisations working to control and prevent malaria and other vector-borne diseases.

In the third cohort, two of the four members joined the Armauer Hansen Research Institute. The fourth cohort was the largest, with 13 candidates, nine working in the health system at various levels. These candidates are associated with organisations such as the MOH National Malaria Elimination Program, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Zone, district malaria, and other vector-borne disease control units.

The fifth cohort had five individuals, with one person from the health sector. After completing their studies, they returned to the district office to work.

The sixth cohort also had five members, including one from the Regional Public Health Laboratory Institute. This institute’s primary objective is to monitor the quality of diagnoses made by other regional institutes. The project work of this cohort was in line with the institute’s aim to evaluate the quality of malaria diagnostics.

The seventh cohort also had five individuals, one from the Regional Public Health Laboratory Institute. Like the sixth cohort member, they also did a project on the challenges of malaria diagnosis.

The eighth cohort had four individuals, two of whom were from the National Institute of Tsetse Control Programme. This institute plays a crucial role in improving animal health in the country. One member of the first cohort and another from the fourth cohort also work at this institute.

Finally, the ninth cohort had four individuals, one from the health sector.

The Norhed-Senuph project provided uninterrupted support to these nine cohorts, producing a skilled workforce that now holds crucial positions in national, regional, zone, and district disease control and prevention programs. These graduates are making remarkable contributions to the nation’s health sector, particularly in controlling malaria and other vector-borne diseases.

Scientific conference for Master’s and PhD students

From November 8 to 10,  we had a scientific conference for masters and PhD students at Hawassa University. Participants were students from the universities in both Hawassa and Arba Minch. Altogether, 28 students presented their research.

The rationale for such an annual event is to have a high-quality conference where students get scientific feedback on their presentations.

The abstracts are found here.

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. 

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