The formation of the WRIM will provide an environment to
enhance the ground-breaking research already taking place at Wits into one of
Africa’s deadliest diseases. The new Institute will fulfil not only the mission
of Wits University, but also that of global players such as the World Bank and
the Global Fund.
Headed jointly by Professor Maureen Coetzee and Professor
Thérèsa Coetzer in the Wits School of Pathology, the WRIM has been formed in an
effort to strengthen malaria research in the existing fields as well as in the
fields of epidemiology and clinical medicine.
“Wits is in the unique position of having three excellent
research groups working on malaria vectors, parasites and pharmacology. The
Wits Faculty of Health Sciences supported the combination of these groups into
an Institute,” comments Assistant Dean Research and Post Graduate Support,
Professor Beverly Kramer.
“The problem is that in Africa there are very few research
institutes that have the capacity to address a host of issues and make an
impact on the disease. The WRIM aims to produce top quality research and
researchers that will benefit malaria control in Africa and place it amongst
the leading malaria research groups in the world,” concludes Maureen Coetzee.
Every 60 seconds a child dies of Malaria. It remains one of
the major disease burdens globally with over 200 million cases per year and
over 650 000 deaths, predominantly in children under 5 in Africa. The estimated annual cost to the African
continent is over US$ 1 billion. In the past 10 years, a concerted drive to
control malaria has been put into effect in many African countries with the
support of the Global Fund for Aids, TB and Malaria; the President’s Malaria
Initiative, the World Bank and several international donor funding agencies
like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the EU and the Wellcome Trust.
World Malaria Day is commemorated annually on 25 April.