In 1986 the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU), was established to study the epidemiology, the treatment and the prevention of multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria in the Burmese Karen refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. At that time, malaria was the most serious health problem facing the displaced population living along the border - it was the primary cause of death and represented over 45% of out-patients consultations.
The work done by SMRU has changed the modern therapeutics of malaria and has relegated malaria from the single most important medical problem in the refugee camps, to a rare cause of illness and death amongst the 130,000 people who now live in the camps. SMRU’s work continues to monitor, treat and control malaria both in the camps, and amongst the communities of Burmese migrant workers outside the camps for who malaria is still a serious threat. SMRU’s research work also aims to improve our knowledge of Malaria, projects include:
Malaria in Pregnancy - Pregnant women in South-East Asia have a high risk of getting severe malaria, hence a large part of the Unit's work is devoted to intensive ante natal care.
Immunology - investigating mechanisms involved in the effects of malaria during pregnancy on the baby.
Malaria in infancy – understanding the effects of Malaria on children under 2 years old and assessing how effective anti-malarial treatment is.
Chemotherapeutic Trials - Defining the optimum treatment schedules in different patient groups,, developing better methods of predicting treatment failure and monitoring emerging drug resistance.
Epidemiology and Entomology – developing a comprehensive description of the epidemiology and entomology of malaria.
Nutrition and Anaemia - highlighting the importance of nutrition in the morbidity and mortality of the community.
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