Pan African Mosquito Control Association in collaboration with the Institute of Research in Health Sciences (IRSS) held its 4th annual and exhibition at Laico Ouga 2000 Hotel, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso between the 16th – 18th October 2017. The conference was graced by His Excellency Professor Alkassoum Maiga, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Higher Education Minister for Scientific Research and Innovation. The three days’ conference was interdisciplinary with participation from researchers, academics, policy makers, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and development partners, the media and other relevant stakeholders from the African Region and abroad.
The theme of the conference was ‘From the field to the laboratory: Progress towards the elimination of malaria and the control of other vector-borne diseases’. The conference was guided by 5 – Sub-themes: Progress in SIT and gene drive for the control of vector borne diseases; Vector bionomic, behaviour and diseases transmission; Challenges in vector control: Insecticide resistance/Community participation; Mosquitoes: Host pathogen interaction and bio-control; and Emerging and other human vector borne diseases.
These themes were packaged into comprehensive scientific and poster presentations as well as high level plenary and stimulating symposia sessions which discussed the latest developments and issues in the mosquito research.
Delivering the key note address, Dr. Abdoulaye Diabaté, Head of the medical entomology laboratory at the Institute of Research in Health Sciences (IRSS) he mentioned that malaria alone accounts for 45.7% of the reasons for consultation, 45.6% of hospital admissions and 25.2% of deaths in health facilities in Burkina Faso, according to the National Health Information System (SNIS) in 2015. As developed countries use science and technology to improve their health and increase their economies, African countries are still lagging behind, he said.
For Abdoulaye Diabaté “this is explained by the fact that we invest little in research and we have very few brains dedicated to it. We lose 50% to the benefit of the developed countries and this phenomenon is called brain drain to better destinations. Science in Africa is still perceived as a luxury that developing countries cannot afford.
” He also argued that the national economic development strategy of most African countries is to buy a ready-made technology out of the factory, rather than investing in technology. He continues with a paraphrased quote from Thomas Sankara, : “Some have embarked on the conquest of the stars, but Africa has not yet finished with the war of the caves. It’s time for us to wake up. “Africa has talents, he suggested, but he needs the means. “A genius who does not express himself, dies in his bottle. This should not be the destiny of Africa, he added. The Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, Alkasoum Maiga, who was present at the opening of the conference, said he was proud of Burkina Faso’s choice to host the conference. After congratulating the organizers, he affirmed the unwavering support of the government to PAMCA (Burkina Faso Chapter) because it is a duty for Burkina Faso that can be a solution in the fight against malaria. Without health there is no development,he quipped.