By JAYNE SAFIHAO
The Institute of Medical Research (IMR) impressed Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish when he visited their facility yesterday morning.
Mr Kemish and his wife, Roxanne, were in Madang province for a two-day visit.
On Tuesday, Mr Kemish visited Divine Word University, Maritime College, Governor Sir Arnold Amet and the Karkum Conservatory for leatherback turtles.
Yesterday, their trip had to be cut short by about an hour beginning at 9am, ending around 10am as they had to catch their 11am flight back to Port Moresby.
Deputy director, science, Ivo Mueller, who acted as tour guide, took Mr Kemish and his wife, and four female reporters, throughout the various laboratories with experts in each sections giving detailed explanation on the type of work carried out there.
He was told about the fight against malaria, especially in identifying the type of mosquito, their feeding habits, the type of parasites they host and how these parasites can be contained in the mosquito so as to find the best possible type of malaria and filariasis antigen which people can readily use.
The IMR’s current project is intermittent preventative treatment of malaria in infants.
The project found that malaria significantly contributed to maternal morbidity and mortality; low birth weight and anemia and poor compliance which resulted in a high level of drug resistance.
Moses Laman, an IMR staff, added that according to their studies, 12% of all deaths in children were caused by meningitis.
“Meningitis, brain diseases and malaria are the three main killers.
“Our work is limited due to funding but we have supportive organisations such as the University of Western Australia; the National Health Medical Research Council of Australia, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, University of Melbourne and the Case Western Reserve University among others who are joining in the fight against malaria,” he said.
Mr Kemish, who was clearly impressed with the level of cleanliness and scientific know-how by the multi-cultured staff, said that their efforts were “not lost” and that he was pleased to know that Australia was also a major player.