Dr Joseph Conrad from Vanderbilt Universit and Dr Priscilla Lumano-Mulenga, from the university’s Institute of Global Health, are hoping to make inroads on the devastation malaria is wreaking in Zambia and other parts of the world. They hope to do this with the help of a new 3D printing machine. Teaming up to work on the project, they have both made sacrifices, with Dr. Lumano-Mulenga being apart from her own family for extended time periods – such is her dedication to preventing deaths from malaria. She said, “It was not an easy decision to leave a husband and three children. What inspired me is I want to see Zambia free of malaria.”
Deaths attributed to malaria are statistically alarming. Young children are incredibly vulnerable – malaria kills more than more than 1,300 of them every day. As Vanderbilt University staff work to bring much-needed attention to this issue, they emphasise that the number of child deaths caused by malaria amounts to “the death toll of three World Trade Centre attacks a week.” Meanwhile in the US there are only about that number of cases diagnosed in a year, and although the disease can cause death, in the US that is usually prevented due to early detection and prescription medication.
Conrad and Lumano-Mulenga will work with Zambian medical teams using 3D printers to fight the disease in the field, creating something completely new: a comprehensive, reliable 3D printed malaria diagnostic kit.