The ninth Public Lecture of the year in a monthly series titled “Ethiopia’s Malaria Landscape: Historical Ecology, Complexity, and Silver Bullets” was held on Thursday 2 June, 2016 at the Auditorium of the Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT). The Public Lecture was delivered by Professor James McCann, a senior historian, historical ecologist and an Associate Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences.
Professor Sileshi Leulseged, Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences and Chairman of the EAS Health Working Group, chaired the lecture.
Professor James McCann started the lecture by expounding the material and social base of science. He indicated that his lecture is based on his book, “The Historical Ecology of Malaria in Ethiopia: Deposing the Spirits”, a book that emanated from a collaborative project among entomologists, agriculturalists, epidemiologists, social scientists and archeologists.
Professor McCann emphasized that “Malaria is an infectious disease like no other. It is a dynamic, shape-shifting force of nature that constitutes Africa’s most deadly and debilitating vector-borne disease.” Malaria has adapted itself and beaten various and continuous biomedical efforts to control it. Professor McCann convincingly presented that “medical science is a necessary but not sufficient lens from which to understand the disease”. In addition to medical efforts to eradicate Malaria, the problem begs for ecological understanding and integrated effort. Professor McCann reiterated that the question of shifting historical context, why here, why now and what a nation needs to do to address this problem must be answered.
Finally, Professor McCann ended the Lecture by stating that the silver bullets to address the issue are Cooperation, Preparedness and Commitment.
Participants from various health sectors, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, people from research institutions, university students, high school students, EAS and EtYAS Fellows attended the Public Lecture.