Hawassa University hosted the 13th Ethiopian Malaria Research Network Annual Symposium under the theme “Digitalization of Surveillance and Enhancing Partnership for Malaria Elimination, Prospects and Challenges” on April 27, 2023 held at AU Hall, main campus.
Dr. Tafesse Matewos, Vice President for research and technology transfer of HU, said in his welcoming speech that it's hardly possible to realize the national development vision of Ethiopia without ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of our citizens. He also noted that malaria has been one of the top public health challenges in Ethiopia, affecting millions of people, necessitating collaborative and synergized efforts of all stakeholders in order to deal with the challenges.
H.E Dr. Dereje Duguma, State minister at Ministry of Health, said in his opening remarks that malaria remains one of the greatest threats to public health despite the efforts undertaken and positive progress witnessed in controlling the diseases. He added that its burden is still enormous, with sub-Saharan African bearing the brunt of it citing the WHO World malaria Report 2022 indicating that 95% of malaria cases and 96% of death occurred in Africa in 2021. "Hence", Dr. Dereje said, "fighting malaria is a wise investment for economic growth, social and health protection, and our country has come a long way fighting the disease in compliance with its national strategic plan and program guidelines."
Dr. Mesay Hailu, Director General of EPHI, delivered a keynote speech where he underlined that the malaria Research Network has been playing a significant role in producing scientific evidence on malaria and being a critical forum for knowledge exchange in bringing researchers, program managers and stakeholders together for a common goal. He also indicated that the network has been instrumental in facilitating uptake of findings for decision and promoting research in areas of evidence gaps.
Prof. Afework Kassu, Director General of AHRI, was the second keynote speaker. He pointed out in his speech that the malaria researches at AHRI focus on emerging/re- emerging locally relevant challenges and are done in response to these challenges where the experts supported the generation of locally tailored evidence to support informed decision making process together with other stakeholders and partners.
The Annual Symposium has brought together researchers from different universities, different partners and stakeholders in malaria research and policy makers, with the goal of joining hands for effective malaria control program execution and strengthening evidence-based and successful anti-malaria interventions to eliminate the disease.