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The Burkina Faso chapter has been existing on interim basis since 09/02/2017, however, the official launch happened during the international scientific meeting, held at the Muraz Centre in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina-Faso, in March 10, 2020. Researchers/scientists and other vector control professionals attended the launch. The launch was also attended by PAMCA’s Executive Director, Dr. Prosper Chaki.
In 2019 the chapter organised training for students interested in R statistical software to analyse their data. These trainings focused on how to data collection, cleaning, import to R software for analysis. The objective was to give the students the basic steps in exporting data in R readable files, the common errors to avoid when writing the scripts and how to interpret the result after analysing the data. The training was held every last two Thursdays of the month from May 2019 and is still occurring in 2020.
The chapter has also contributed to the training co-organised by WANETAM on the topic Vector bionomics, and vector borne disease elimination from 19 to 31/08/2019 at Bobo-Dioulasso.
This training was to encourage the young researchers, to focus their research on the current development issues in Africa, such tackling and eliminating vector borne diseases undermining the development of Africa.
For the year 2020, the chapter plans to have an “entomologist day” at Bobo-Dioulasso and focus on the students and school people from Burkina Faso, to enhance and boost their knowledge on parasitic diseases and vector borne diseases and the way to combat them for the lay public, understandable by the low-level elementary school to facilitate a bottom-up approach to vector-borne disease control and elimination.
This entomologists’ day program will include speeches, exposition of the different findings obtained from research activities and current work done by the research, in layman’s language to arouse the curiosity of the prospective participants to get involved in vector control activities at the community level.
PAMCA 4th Annual Conference in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
The Pan African Mosquito Control Association in collaboration with the Institute of Research in Health Sciences (IRSS) held its 4th annual conference at the Laico Ouga 2000 Hotel, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso between the 16th – 18th October 2017. The conference was graced by His Excellency Professor Alkassoum Maiga, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Higher Education Minister for Scientific Research and Innovation. The three-days conference was interdisciplinary with participation from researchers, academics, policy makers, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and development partners, the media and other relevant stakeholders from the African Region and beyond.
The theme of the conference was ‘From the field to the laboratory: Progress towards the elimination of malaria and the control of other vector-borne diseases’. The conference was guided by five – sub-themes: Progress in Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and gene drive for the control of vector borne diseases; Vector bionomic, behaviour and diseases transmission; Challenges in vector control: Insecticide resistance/Community participation; Mosquitoes: Host pathogen interaction and bio-control; and Emerging and other human vector borne diseases.
These themes formed the basis of oral and poster presentations, high level plenary and stimulating symposia sessions which discussed the latest developments and issues in the mosquito research.
Delivering the key note address, Dr. Abdoulaye Diabaté, Head of the medical entomology laboratory at the Institute of Research in Health Sciences (IRSS) mentioned that malaria alone accounts for 45.7% of the reasons for consultation, 45.6% of hospital admissions and 25.2% of deaths in health facilities in Burkina Faso, according to the National Health Information System (SNIS) in 2015. Dr Diabaté emphasised the fact that as developed countries use science and technology to improve their health and increase their economies, African countries are still lagging behind.
Dr Diabaté stated that this is explained by the fact that we invest little in research and we have very few brains dedicated to it. ‘We lose 50% to the benefit of the developed countries and this phenomenon is called brain drain to better destinations. Science in Africa is still perceived as a luxury that developing countries cannot afford’ he highlighted.
He also argued that the national economic development strategy of most African countries is to buy ready-made technology out of the factory, rather than investing in technology. He continues with a paraphrased quote from Thomas Sankara, “Some have embarked on the conquest of the stars, but Africa has not yet finished with the war of the caves. It’s time for us to wake up” . Africa has talent, he suggested, but she needs the means. The Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, Alkasoum Maiga, affirmed the unwavering support of the government to PAMCA as a solution in the fight against malaria.
PAMCA Pre-Conference Training Workshops – Gene Drive and Proposal Writing
The Pan African Mosquito Control Association held two pre-conference activities which include; Africa Grant Writing Bootcamp for African Innovators held from 12th-13th October 2017at the Laico Ouaga 2000 Hotel, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This was targeted to provide early-career African innovators and scientists an opportunity to receive intensive coaching on how to develop successful grant proposals. The training brought together twenty early-career African innovators and scientists to strengthen their grant writing skills, to complete proposals ready to be submitted for review by funding bodies, and more importantly use the platform to develop network of leading early –career innovators and researchers across Africa. Participants were drawn from different African countries and we believe that they gained the much-needed deeper understanding of writing winning proposals. The writing boot camp was jointly organized and facilitated by PAMCA, African Academy of Sciences Grand Challenges Africa Programme, Ifakara Health Institute and IRSS.
PAMCA also hosted a three-day training on Novel Genetic Vector Control Strategies: Considerations for Responsible Research at the conference venue. The short course training was held between 13th to 15th October 2017. The aim of the training was to equip upcoming entomologists and researchers in biology, medicine, policy makers and health professionals with basic understanding of mosquito genetics and the steps involved in genetic modification of mosquitoes including gene editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9. It brought together more than thirty participants from 12 countries. The training was jointly organized by PAMCA in collaboration with MRTC, Mali, UVRI, Uganda, and Target Malaria.