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A Treasure Blossoms

By Sungano Mharakurwa

When I look back, I'm grateful to be alive. I lost my maternal grandmother to malaria. She had confusion and convulsions, which led people around her to suspect she had been bewitched. This may have delayed her referral to a health center.

I also vividly remember myself having malaria at preschool age. I still shudder at the recollection of how bad it was. I no longer wanted food. I had exhausting cycles of feeling very cold, then suddenly feeling very hot. A terrible headache. Finally I got to the hospital where I was born and got effective treatment.

Macha has been extremely well received as a treasured resource for the country, a tremendous help for the malaria control program. The possibility of developing non-invasive ways of testing for malaria, which is novel research, has become a source of pride to the country. Taking blood is often met with suspicion by communities. So we're working on three approaches for testing saliva, including looking at the nucleic acids of the parasite....

I think what?s happening here has a strong potential to have a ripple effect, convincing governments to put more money into PhD education and research jobs. Tanzania committed 1 percent of its GDP to research. And I understand Uganda is trying to pay its researchers an international salary. And once we do that, it will blossom because there?s no shortage of smart people; it?s only the careers have not been rewarding.