Children playing in a village in Uganda © Target Malaria
In the institute at UVRI in Entebbe, Jonathan Kayondo leads a multi-disciplinary team part of a global not-for-profit research project called Target Malaria. Together with 14 other institutions worldwide they are working on developing and sharing an innovative vector control tool to reduce the population of malaria mosquitoes. Out of the 3500 species of mosquitoes, a small number transmit malaria, the Anopheles mosquitoes. The UVRI team is contributing through its expertise to develop genetic approaches to affect the reproduction of these mosquitoes.
To develop this new tool, the researchers need to better understand mosquitoes: how they live, where they are, how they reproduce, how far they fly, etc. Knowing your enemy is hard work, going month after month to rural villages collecting mosquitoes in their different life stages (eggs, larvae, adult) and then heading back to the lab in Entebbe to analyse them. Krystal Birungi, a young female entomologist leads this work with passion. The data collected in Uganda is then compiled with additional information from Burkina Faso and Mali (other partner countries) to better inform the project’s plans and strategies.