A cross-disciplinary approach to eradicating malaria

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There is an arsenal of cost-effective tools available to combat malaria but getting people to adhere to treatment regimens can be challenging, said Jessica Cohen, assistant professor of global health, at a symposium focused on “The Last Mile to Malaria Eradication,” held December 4, 2014 in Kresge G3. It was sponsored by the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and the Harvard Institute for Global Health and included a poster session and reception in the FXB Atrium.

This was the second such event sponsored by the cross-Harvard initiative Defeating Malaria: From the Genes to the Globe. This effort brings together experts from different disciplines within the University to address complex issues related to eradicating malaria. Dyann Wirth, who heads the Harvard Malaria Initiative and is also Richard Pearson Strong Professor and chair, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, called the Defeating Malaria initiative “a transformational way to focus on major public health problems.”

Cohen discussed the challenges of increasing use of bed nets, which provide protection for people while they sleep against malaria-carrying mosquitos. Some people don’t use them properly; others don’t use them at all and subject themselves to hungry mosquitos looking for a blood meal.