On 13 June, after months of careful planning and discussions with communities and village leaders in Pailin province, the first people were enrolled into the Targeted Malaria Elimination (TME) Cambodia study site. The TME study aims to evaluate a whole village treatment strategy for the elimination of malaria. It will enroll 2,000 people in four villages and follow them for a year.
Dr Rupam Tripura, who has worked in Pailin since 2007 with Arjen Dondorp, MORU Deputy Director/Head of Malaria, is in charge of the TME study. MORU is based at Pailin General Hospital.
TME involves running clinics in the villages outside Pailin with blood samples coming back to the hospital for lab analysis. Everyone in each village is given antimalarial drugs at the start of the study even if they don’t have a fever. Blood samples are taken from all throughout the year to check if all parasites have gone and to see if they return in some people in the village.
As well as Pailin, there are study sites in Myanmar, Vietnam and SMRU each enrolling 2,000 subjects. TME Cambodia is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for year one. The Wellcome Trust will then fund expanded studies for three further years.