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Construction of a network between the core institutions

Reasons why we collaborate

The Khanh Phu Malaria Research Unit under the Provincial Health Department of Khanh Hoa Province, was founded and supported by the Medical Committee of Netherland-Vietnam since 1993 and has been conducting malaria research and control on a community of 3000 people (mainly ethnic minorities) living in the Khanh Phu area. While the prevalence of human malaria has been greatly reduced since 1998, the sporozoite rates of mosquitoes in the forest has not decreased. In order to understand the mechanisms behind this phenomenon and complete the elimination of malaria in this area, the group has been looking for researchers who can help answer this question. Japanese researchers detected the co-infection of human and monkey parasites in the salivary glands in one vector mosquito collected in Khanh Phu using molecular techniques. At that point they agreed to collaborate on the study of sylvatic and zoonotic malaria.

All the residents of Khanh Phu and their houses are registered and their malaria histories are being monitored by the Khanh Phu Malaria Unit. A great deal of entomological research has also been done by the Khanh Phu Malaria Research Unit.


Preliminary research was conducted by Japanese malariologists, an anthropologist with his Vietnamese counterpart and a primatologist in order to evaluate the feasibility of further investigations. Infection of humans with monkey malaria parasites was confirmed and the number of human cases appeared to increase this year. An anthropological survey of the people’s way of life and their understanding of malaria was performed. The primatologist surveyed several sites for wild monkeys and collected fecal samples. The Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University financially supported these activities. We held an international symposium together with researchers from Vietnam at RIHN in September 2010. Several primatologists from around the world participating in the International Primate Society Congress held in Kyoto and who were interested in malaria, also attended this meeting. We discussed the progress of our initial phase of the project and prospects of future collaboration. After the symposium the researchers from Vietnam to visit Nagasaki and Nagoya to discuss detailed research plans.

A re-organization is going on in Vietnam whereby the local government will more strongly support the research activities of the Malaria Research Unit by appointing young Vietnamese researchers. The Khanh Phu Malaria Unit is also applying for research funds.

Academic agreements between NIMPE are being planned.

Modus of collaboration

Since the agreement of collaboration exchanged between the coordinators in the program on Aug. 9, 2009, both sides have continued research as a ‘soft alliance’, that is, the work is shared by participants from their own budgets. With these efforts interesting findings about people in Khanh Phu harboring monkey malaria parasites were made. To expand this study we organized a multidisciplinary research team.

The Vietnamese side has a good amount of information on people and mosquitoes. The Japan side has experts in molecular biology and immunology as its core members and has added other experts of ecology, primatology and anthropology. They visit Vietnam, carry out research with our Vietnamese collaborators, collecting samples, and analyze them. We will invite young Vietnamese scientists to help analyze samples with Japanese researchers. We will share the data, results, questions and information with all parties. Improved malaria control, and utlimately its elimination, is in our scope of activities. We will maintain the collaboration with all our organizations and networks, have meetings and obtain funds for that purpose.

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