Traditional leaders from Ndirande Township in Blantyre on Thursday visited Malawi Liverpool Wellcome (MLW) Trust laboratory where they were taken through various processes in typhoid fever testing.
The visit was in relation to the Strategic Typhoid Alliance Across Africa and Asia (Stratta), a two-year study about typhoid fever which MLW is undertaking in Ndirande and Nepal and Bangladesh in South Asia to understand the burden of the disease in Africa and in Asia.
The chiefs learnt about what happens to the blood that is collected from their subjects, where the blood is taken to before results are released and how confidentiality in research is seriously taken.
In an interview, MLW clinical research programme fellow James Meiring emphasised the need to involve communities.
“Ultimately, the research that we are doing is for the benefit of those communities that we are doing research in because if we understand the diseases better, it will help to introduce new treatment or vaccines to the communities. Previously, we visited the chiefs in their community and now we decided to have them here,” he said.
Village head Chakana said the research was an eye-opener because many of her subjects did not know they can have typhoid fever.
Several outbreaks have been reported in Malawi with Zomba, Neno and Mchinji districts being the most recent.
Typhoid is consistent with poor hygiene. n