By Prof. Abdoulaye Diabaté, Head of Medical Entomology and Parasitology, Institut de Recherche en Science de la Santé; Principal Investigator, Target Malaria Burkina Faso

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 2023 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting in Dakar, Senegal. This year’s event was a special one, as it marked the 20th anniversary of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s flagship R&D grantmaking program, created in 2003 to encourage researchers to “think ambitiously about solving global health crises”.

As part of the meeting, I took part in the panel discussion “Harnessing the Power of Science Against Malaria” moderated by freelance journalist Raïssa Okoï, alongside Principal Investigator Dr. Ify Aniebo from the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) and singer, songwriter, businessman and global advocate, Youssou N’Dour.

The conversation centered around innovations in the fight against malaria, focusing specifically on the potential of tools such as gene drive technologies and genomic surveillance to combat the spread of the disease. My intervention was focused on shedding light on the threat that malaria still poses worldwide as well as highlighting the importance of exploring new malaria control tools.