DAVIS—To increase public awareness about malaria, plans are under way for the second annual Malaria Awareness Day on the University of California, Davis, campus.
The event, set from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 25 in the University Club Lounge, will include talks on malaria, a short movie, an African drumming performance, dancing and food.
The event, free and open to the public, is being organized by the UC Mosquito Research Program, a statewide program of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources; and the Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA), affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Malaria, one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, kills more than a million people every year, according to the World Health Organization. Every 30 seconds, a child in Africa dies of the mosquito-borne disease.
Keynote speaker is Baba Jallow, a UC Davis doctoral student in African history from the Gambia. He will discuss his experiences living in a malaria endemic country.
The schedule includes:
6 p.m.: Introduction by medical entomologist Gregory Lanzaro, director of the UC Mosquito Research Program, professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine, and an entomology graduate student advisor
6:05: Talk on malaria by Lisa Reimer, a UC Davis entomology doctoral student who researches mosquito resistance to insecticides
6:20: Keynote address by Baba Jallow, UC Davis doctoral student in African history
6:35: Showing of 15-minute video, “Malaria: Killer Number One,” covering the challenges and impact of malaria in Ethiopia
6:55: Information and discussion on how the public can help fight malaria
7 to 8 p.m.: African drumming performance by the group, Faso Baara, led by master dancer and drummer Mamodou Sow of Davis, professionally trained in his native Senegal, West Africa
Reimer encourages the public to attend to learn more about malaria. She coordinated the cultural celebration for the inaugural UC Davis Malaria Awareness Day, held last year.
For the past two summers, she has researched insecticide resistance in the West African country of Mali. Mosquito resistance to insecticides is one of the primary factors impeding malaria control efforts, said Reimer, who studies with major professors Anthony Cornel, assistant professor of entomology at UC Davis, and Lanzaro
“Resistance to pyrethroids, the insecticides used to control the major sub-Saharan malaria vector Anopheles gambiae is rapidly spreading,” she said. “This is of concern because current malaria control programs rely heavily on indoor residual spraying with insecticides, and insecticide-treated bed nets.”
The bed nets, she said, offer individual and community protection against malaria, “often reducing morbidity by as much as 50 percent.” For those who want to donate to efforts, addresses will be provided at the Malaria Awareness Day.
Reimer coordinated a two-day fundraising drive last year, raising $1400 to purchase bed nets. Each $10 donation bought a bed net. All funds went directly to Malaria No More.
Assisting with the UC Davis Malaria Awareness Day is entomology graduate student Melody Schmid, who also worked on the project last year.
World Malaria Day was established and approved at the 60th World Health Assembly in March 2007. It replaces Africa Malaria Day, observed every April 25 since 2001. The goal, organizers said, is provide education and understanding of malaria “as a global scourge that is preventable and a disease that is curable.”
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist
UC Davis Department of Entomology