In many Asia Pacific countries, the shortfall of qualified human resources for entomology has been a major roadblock for countries as they implement their malaria elimination strategies. Entomologists play a key role in identifying the vectors capable of transmitting malaria, vector behaviors that are important for transmission dynamics (such as where they breed, what they feed, where they feed, and when they feed), effectiveness of vector control tools that aims to prevent, protect, and interrupt transmission, and monitoring insecticide susceptibility. The input from entomologists are important to guide the design and deployment of appropriate vector control interventions in different epidemiological setting.
APMEN initiated a scholarship program that carefully selects the frontline entomologists who might benefit most from formal educational programs and directly contribute to strengthening malaria elimination capacity in their own countries. This year APMEN was able to support 4 candidates who qualified to study for the Diploma in Applied Parasitology and Entomology (DAP&E). This is a 5-month diploma course presented by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) in Malaysia.
Based on a competitive process, APMEN selected 4 students, 3 from Indonesia and 1 from the People’s Republic of China, to undergo this DAP&E training. These candidates were selected on individual merits and their potential to contribute to malaria elimination in their home countries. The course allows student to better understand the interplay between parasite and vector as parasitology and entomology are two distinct disciplines. and Professionals in either disciplines have ample opportunities to learn about both these fields of study during the DAP&E course. The unique design of this diploma course allows students to have integrated learning and ultimately are trained as infectious disease specialists who have multi-disciplinary knowledge and understanding. Mr Sun Dingwei, a trained entomologist, told us how he felt after completing the study “For this course, even though I had some experience in entomology, most of the parasitology knowledge is really new. I know I am sponsored to support malaria elimination but the course brings a lot of knowledge even beyond malaria.”
One of our Scholars mentioned how this course is directly applicable to his career development and the broader impact it will yield when he applies the new-found knowledge he has gained back at home: “For me this is very exciting to study here. At first, I feared that I might not be able to keep up with the lessons because I have only a very basic knowledge before I came to this course. Even though I am working in the malaria program in my province, I never had such opportunity to study detailed technical knowledge. This course really motivates me and helped me to do my job better.”
The APMEN Scholars appreciate the opportunities they received from APMEN to attend this course and they recommend APMEN to continue supporting this program as it helps countries to step up their malaria elimination agenda. Strengthened human resources for health investment will have multiplicative benefits beyond malaria elimination. One scholars mentioned that “I recommend APMEN to continue sponsoring another cohort next year especially to people from countries with the highest malaria burden in Asia Pacific. I strongly recommend this course as it gives very fundamental knowledge about malaria related to parasitology and entomology”
APMEN VCWG celebrates the success of these scholars and wishes them all the best of luck as they go back to their home countries and strengthen their malaria elimination programs by applying the knowledge and experiences they gained from this course.
APMEN VCWG would like to thank Sumitomo Chemical for their generous investment in APMEN’s initiatives that are providing critical and impactful assistance to the Asia Pacific countries. APMEN would also like to thank the Institute of Medical Research (IMR), Malaysia and indeed the entire faculty for allowing our Scholars to study at their world-class new facility in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Selangor, Malaysia and for their hospitality for making the students’ 5-months stay comfortable and enjoyable.
If you are interested to support next-generation leaders like Sun, Rahmad, Dani, and Sandy, to help with their missions to create a malaria-free, healthy communities in Asia Pacific, please contact to APMEN VCWG , either Dr Htin Kyaw Thu (H.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Leo Braack (email@example.com).