The South African Medical Research Council Office of Malaria Research (OMR) seeks to improve the health status and quality of life of people living in malaria endemic areas by facilitating high quality scientific research that informs the development of policy, health services, health promotion and capacity development. In consultation with the SA National Department of Health the OMR developed a prioritised research agenda to foster networking and collaboration among different role players to synergise efforts on malaria research towards a common goal. In light of this it was decided to host the first malaria research conference in 2015 which has now become an annual event.
This year due to the Covid-19 pandemic the OMR is hosting a virtual malaria research conference in collaboration with the South African National Department of Health on 3 and 4 August 2021. This initiative of the OMR creates a platform for experienced and emerging scientists to showcase their work.
During this event we aim to report on the progress that has been made towards achieving the National Department of Health’s goal of eliminating malaria by 2026. A number of countries, including South Africa, have now embarked on a malaria elimination agenda since the transmission of the disease has been drastically reduced, especially in the southern African region.
Of the 16 SADC countries, eight are targeting elimination by 2025. Cross border malaria which is one of the thematic areas of the conference, poses a serious threat to South Africa’s elimination efforts. Therefore, efforts to enhance cross border collaboration is vital and contributes to a greater body of knowledge and research. Hence, the meeting provides an opportunity for scientists to share their research findings with colleagues from the region as well as the wider malaria research community. The meeting is themed "Research and Control: United Against Malaria" with both scientific sessions and posters dedicated to this topic.