University of Buea
The malaria research group at the University of Buea in Cameroon is a multidisciplinary group consisting of 12 doctoral level scientists and 8 assistant lecturers. It has a semi-urban field site 10 minutes from the University for community-based studies and there are hospital facilities in three local hospitals for clinical studies.
The main strength of the research group is in malaria immunology and molecular biology, including exploring new candidate vaccines, parasite biology, anti-malaria drug resistance of first-line drugs, entomology, clinical studies and epidemiology.
How the Buea group is contributing to MalariaGEN
Professor Achidi and his team have been working to recruit children with severe malaria and ethnically-matched controls for Consortial Project 1. They are also participating in Consortial Project 3.
The team started by recruiting cases of severe malaria at Mount Mary Health Centre in Buea, Limbe Provincial Hospital and Bota District Hospital - all located within a 30 minute drive from the laboratory. Later they extended recruitment to sites further away, in Douala and Yaounde.
Ethical approval was obtained to recruit healthy schoolchildren as ethnically-matched controls, with the agreement that when blood was taken from the children, if they were found to have malaria parasites they would be treated. Designing appropriate strategies for obtaining valid consent for the recruitment of schoolchildren into this study proved challenging. The engagement of teachers, government authorities and community leaders was instrumental in considering how best to respond to this challenge.
By July 2008 the team had exceeded the original target of about 700 cases of severe malaria and 650 controls for Consortial Project 1 by recruiting a total of 950 cases and 950 controls. Also, 31 family trios have been recruited for Consortial Project 3.