Mosquito ecology research facility inaugurated
AN insectary and laboratory centre for research into mosquitoes has been inaugurated in Accra.
Target Malaria Ghana, an non-governmental organisation (NGO) research consortium, in partnership with the University of Ghana, Legon, established the facility.
The centre will investigate optimal rearing conditions that enhances the male mosquito’s fitness.
The inauguration brought together students and representatives of the Ghana Health Service, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), the National Malaria Elimination Programme, among others.
The In-country Principal Investigator of Target Malaria Ghana, Dr Fred Aboagye-Antwi, explained further that the project would focus on the community ecology surrounding anopheles gambiae, a major malaria vector mosquito species.
“It will allow the construction of quantitative ecological networks surrounding anopheles gambiae and aid in making predictions regarding the impact of eliminating or reducing this species on the rest of the ecosystem," he added.
Dr Aboagye-Antwi stated that the mosquito ecology research facility would go a long way to contribute to solving some health challenges, education, infrastructure and human capacity building.
The facility, which is situated on the premises of the University of Ghana, Legon, close to the Department of Plant and Environmental Biology formerly the Department of Botany and the Department of Political Science, has three insectaries.
It has an imaging laboratory, a freezer room, a processing room and a pesticide testing room.
"The insectary is equipped with the latest instrumentation for any researcher to perform experiments and collect research data.
It will provide the Ghana team with the ability to carry out studies in a contained environment," Dr Aboagye-Antwi stated.
The Programme Manager of the National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr Keziah Malm, said having more researchers on board this fight was refreshing.
"Malaria continues to be a disease of high burden in the country. It accounts for 30 per cent of out-patient attendance in the country.
"It is a disease of public health importance, and it is very refreshing that we are getting more researchers in the fight against it. Studying mosquitoes and getting to know them more effectively is very important," she noted.
A Senior Research Fellow of the Parasitology Department of the NMIMR, Dr Samuel Dadzie, commended the Target Malaria team for the initiative.
“We at Noguchi are excited about the project.
Despite the huge investment into malaria control, the disease continues to be of global concern.
Noguchi has been at the forefront of research supporting issues of public concern, including malaria,” he said.
He added that the facility would enhance research into malaria ecology.
“We are happy that this facility will further account to our understanding of new technology and improve malaria research.
“This laboratory has come to enhance research into malaria ecology, which will aid advance research on mosquitoes and enable us to develop more strategies to reduce the spread of it,” Dr Dadzie added.