23 March 2023, Accra, Ghana – Vestergaard, a leader in public health solutions and the largest manufacturer of long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs), announced today a renewed, strategic partnership with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana to strengthen the development of innovative vector control tools for the prevention of malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa for a further five years.
Malaria is a major public health concern in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an estimated 95% of all malaria cases and deaths occurring in the region.1 While significant progress has been made in the past two decades, malaria remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in many African countries, including Ghana. To address this challenge, Vestergaard and NMIMR joined forces in 2011 to create the Vestergaard-NMIMR Vector Labs (VNVL). Since then, VNVL has expanded access and availability to mosquito insectary and vector control research. This renewed commitment will continue to provide opportunities for greater collaborations between Vestergaard and NMIMR. NMIMR and Vestergaard are committed to growing early career research opportunities to further translational research on malaria vector control. Investments of 250,000 USD by Vestergaard over the five years will support development of a post-doctoral fellowship. There will also be two research assistants seconded by Vestergaard to work in the Department of Parasitology.
One of the mandates of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research is to train postgraduate students in biomedical sciences and provide high-end laboratory diagnostic and monitoring and surveillance for use by these researchers. With its modern laboratories to conduct research, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research provides the right environment to train young scientists in the country and region, having trained several post-doctoral fellows over the years.
Through this public-private partnership and beyond investment, Vestergaard lends its extensive expertise in public health solutions, while NMIMR provides its knowledge and research expertise in public health including malaria parasitology, vector borne disease control. Together, the two organisations will work to advance and elevate vector control science and improve the understanding of LLIN performance and their contribution to malaria prevention.
The Director of the NMIMR, Professor Dorothy Yeboah-Manu believes that this partnership is the right one as it is important in nurturing young scientists to develop their capacities, which is something that needs improving in the sub-region. “I place a high value on mentoring young scientists since mentorship is part of my vision, and this partnership to train a post-doctoral fellow provides another opportunity to implement this vision. I am also excited about the prospect of having additional staff for the Parasitology department through this collaboration, and we look forward to support the new scientists to work with the researchers who are actively working on malaria eradication. Together with Vestergaard, we can greatly minimize the spread of malaria in the sub region by leveraging on our capabilities.”, said Professor Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Director at NMIMR.
Vestergaard is also committed to this partnership and sees the NMIMR as the right place to train the scientists who will contribute to elimination of the disease. “We are excited to renew our partnership with NMIMR to further research and support early career scientists who will bolster capacity in the region and support much needed innovation,” said Melinda Hadi, Director of Market Development & Access, Public Health at Vestergaard. “This partnership combines our strengths and expertise to develop vector control tools and improve knowledge sharing that can make a real difference in the lives of people at risk of malaria.”
The partnership, now in its 12th year, has been instrumental in providing evidence-based data on LLINs and vector control solutions in malaria-endemic countries in Africa. Since its inception, VNVL has contributed to the improved understanding of insecticide resistance intensity in malaria mosquitoes while supporting emerging research.2,3 VNVL presently offers high insectary capacity and bioassay testing capabilities, product testing, and entomology training and hosts local and international research projects. It has also reared more than one million mosquitoes annually for product testing. And since 2016, it has helped the Ghanaian National Insecticide Resistance Monitoring Partnership (NIRMOP) in its annual resistance monitoring activities by offering testing materials and the lab as a training venue for field staff.
VNVL strives for gender parity and aims to give equal opportunity to women in science.
As a science-led public health company, Vestergaard believes it has a duty of care to ensure the development of high-quality tools to confront the ever-evolving malaria mosquito and Noguchi Memorial Institute provides the right environment and has experienced scientists to train younger scientists to support this common goal. Investments in science-led innovation bring insights and knowledge to improve vector control products and malaria control strategies.
“Malaria elimination is a complex, and we remain committed to innovative partnerships and the development of effective vector control tools until the disease is eliminated”, said Melinda Hadi.
Vestergaard is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of innovative, high-quality tools to improve global health outcomes in mainly low- and middle-income countries. Known for their PermaNet® long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to prevent malaria, the company has manufactured 973 million bed nets, protecting an estimated 1.75 billion lives in malaria-endemic countries. Their partnerships and ground-breaking tools have allowed Vestergaard to support global health efforts to eradicate malaria, sleeping sickness and Guinea worm.
About Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) set up in 1979 as a semi-autonomous institute of the University of Ghana, is the leading biomedical research facility in Ghana. Hosting one of the finest and most advanced research laboratories in the region, the Institute aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Ghanaians and mankind through focused and relevant quality biomedical research, human resource development and support of national public health activities.
The overall mandate of the Institute is to conduct research into diseases of public health importance, train postgraduate students in biomedical sciences and support the public health programmes of the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service. Specifically, this involves:
- Conducting research into communicable and non-communicable diseases.
- Providing training opportunities in biomedical research for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
- Providing high-end laboratory diagnostic and monitoring and surveillance services in support of national public health
Carol Essex, Director of Communications Public Health at Vestergaard firstname.lastname@example.org
- World Health Organization. (2022). World Malaria Report 2022. World Health Organization. Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/365169
- Pwalia R, Joannides J, Iddrisu A, Addae C, Acquah-Baidoo D, Obuobi D, et al. High insecticide resistance intensity of Anopheles gambiae (s.l.) and low efficacy of pyrethroid LLINs in Accra, Ghana. Parasites Vectors. 2019;12(299). Available from: doi: 10.1186/s13071-019-3556-y.
- Akorli J, Akorli EA, Tetteh SNA, Amlalo, GK, Opoku, M, Pwalia, R, et al. Microsporidia MB is found predominantly associated with Anopheles gambiae s.s and Anopheles coluzzii in Ghana. Sci Rep (2021); 11(18658). Available from: doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-98268-2.