18 Aug 2005

Head of PNG Medical Institute thrilled by US dollar grant to fight malaria

11:48 am on 18 August 2005

The head of the PNG Institute of Medical Research says he's thrilled to have been awarded a two and a half million US dollar grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The money will help fund a new malaria research project run by the Goroka based Institute.

Professor John Reeder says they will be recruiting 1800 children over a three year period and treating some of those children for malaria even though have no signs of the disease.

Professor Reeder says this may have a protective effect on the children later in life and they hope to gain a further understanding as to why.

He says it's an important step forward in malaria research which is desperately needed in the country.

"We're losing thirty five thousand children a year before their fifth birthday in this country. Maybe ten of them or ten thousand of them are going to be through malaria, so it's a major public health problem. So what I would hope is that we can come up with a therapy that can be introduced routinely beyond the course and hope that that will be the thing that has a big impact on the country rather than the project itself."

Professor John Reeder, director of the PNG Institute of Medical Research