The Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) was established in 1986 as a centre for epidemiological study into the treatment and prevention of resistant malaria among refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. At the time, malaria was the most serious health problem facing the displaced population living along the border and the primary cause of death, representing over 45% of out-patient consultations.
Currently 130,000 people live in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. The work carried out by SMRU over the past 20 years has improved therapeutics for malaria and relegated malaria from being the single most important medical problem in these camps, to a rare cause of illness and death amongst refugees.
Researchers at SMRU continue to monitor, treat and control malaria, both within the camps and amongst the communities of Burmese migrant workers, who live outside the camps.
In Southeast Asia, some types of the malaria parasite develop resistance to the drug combinations used to cure and prevent the disease. If this drug resistance spread to Africa, it’d be a disaster. Fortunately, partners on the front lines are finding ways to fight back. Watch this video about the amazing work one team of researchers is doing to combat drug resistance in Thailand.
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