Malaria remains one of the leading causes of death in sub-Saharan Africa despite commitments by African Heads of State to eliminate the disease by 2030. The African Union had set a 2020 target of reducing malaria incidence and mortality by at least 40% compared to 2015 but only 15 Member States either made significant strides towards this objective or achieved it at the end of the period. Concerted efforts and new tools are urgently needed to address the threats of insecticide and drug resistance and gain further ground against the disease. At the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly on the 6th of January, H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, Chairperson of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) presented these findings and more in the 2021 African Union Malaria Progress Report.

On February 15, ahead of the European Union and African Union Summit, the Embassies of Ghana and of Uganda to the EU, the Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research and the Pan African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA) held a joint conference to discuss the value of partnerships and innovation to promote health and resilience in a changing climate. The hybrid event took place in Brussels and online and gathered ambassadors, policy officers, researchers, and other relevant stakeholders.

On February 17, join biologist Gregg Howald, Canada’s National Observer founder Linda Solomon and The Tyee’s David Beers, in a special virtual exhibition with conservation photographer Andrew S. Wright. This exhibit is a celebration of major conservation efforts by Island Conservation on five islands: Gwaii Haanas, Canada - Okinoshima, Japan - Kaho’o’lawe, Hawaii - Palmyra Atoll, Northern Line Islands, South Pacific - Isla Floreana and Seymour Norte, Galapagos.

The Vector Genetics Laboratory (VGL), Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis has been awarded a new grant to support their research on genetic tools for malaria control. The grant was awarded by Open Philanthropy and will help finance the lab’s research on human malaria, including genetic approaches, in the west African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP).

Insect-borne diseases such as malaria or dengue represent a major public health concern, causing more than 700 000 deaths annually. Amongst the tools used to limit their spread, some involve the use of insecticides. Insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) or indoor residual spraying, for instance, are two methods commonly used to fight malaria. Yet, the prolonged use of these interventions has caused insecticide-resistance to increase, as many insects have genetically adapted to become less susceptible to the chemicals. This reduces the efficacy of key vector-control interventions and threatens progress against these diseases.