Entomologists from the armed forces of eight African nations recently came together to participate in a U.S. Africa Command-sponsored engagement held at the US Army Medical Research Unit- Entomology Department, Kisumu, Kenya, Nov. 24 to Dec. 5, 2014.
The 10-day engagement is organized by AFRICOM’s Office of Command Surgeon (SG) and the Strategy, Plans and Programs (J5) Directorate in collaboration with United States Naval Medical Research Unit Number 3 (NAMRU-3) brought together participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Rwanda and Uganda.
The purpose of the event is to enhance the participants’ experience on fighting the insects responsible for transmitting malaria by providing in depth hands-on insects surveillance, identification, control, as well as education on insects-borne disease personal protective measures. It also helps to create a pool of leaders who are able to build capacities and capabilities in entomology in their countries.
This regional-engagement approach allows member nations to share and exchanging knowledge and expertise. In the fight against malaria, improved communication and data sharing between different nations are keys for successful prevention efforts.
The engagement is funded by the US Africa Command utilizing the Military-Military fund in response to gap analysis results presented by the East and West Africa Malaria Task Force member nations during the East Africa Malaria Task Force meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in July 2012 and the West Africa Malaria Task Force meeting in Accra, Ghana in April 2013.
East and West Africa Malaria Task Forces were established in December 2011 to strengthen and expand African militaries malaria prevention programs. Robust African military malaria prevention programs strengthen African defense capabilities and enable deployment of African healthy and fit forces to assist in regional Peace Keeping Operations and provide a secure health environment conducive to good governance and development.