Malaria researcher promotes global efforts to rid disease from endemic areas

Physician and researcher Richard W. Steketee, director of the Malaria Control and Elimination Partnership in Africa MACEPA, has been fascinated by the malaria parasite for 35 years.  On April 11, he will visit the University of Georgia to discuss current efforts to banish the disease from parts of Africa where it has a stubborn hold.

“The United States rid itself of malaria by the early 1950s and certified this accomplishment in 1969.  Between 2000 and 2015, 17 countries eliminated malaria.  This has not yet happened for any of the 44 sub-Saharan African malaria-endemic nations and this is a roadblock to change and progress for an entire continent,” Steketee said.  “I would love to witness that change, and we are getting closer every day—but still need a serious step forward.”

Steketee’s talk, “Eliminating Malaria — Can the Glass Ceiling be Broken?” takes place at 5:30 p.m. in the UGA Chapel.  It is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception at Demosthenian Hall, next door to the Chapel.

The lecture concludes the 2017 Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard series, co-sponsored by the UGA Grady College Health and Medical Journalism graduate program and the UGA Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases.

MACEPA, created in 2004, works to control and eliminate malaria in sub-Saharan African countries where the disease is endemic. Ethiopia, Senegal, and Zambia are its current focus. In addition to leading programs and research studies from PATH headquarters, Steketee has participated in and led numerous programs and research studies in the field.

All told, Steketee has spent more than seven years living in sub-Saharan African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Sudan, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and is a scientific contributor and editor for the “Roll Back Malaria Progress and Impact Series,” which produces detailed thematic and country-by-country reports about malaria control and elimination. This reflects his interest in translating science into policy and action.

Before joining MACEPA, Steketee spent 21 years with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and retired after being chief of the malaria branch for five years. He is proficient in French and board certified in both Family Practice and Preventive Medicine.  Steketee earned his BA and MPH from Harvard University and his MD from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

The annual Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard lecture series is co-organized by Patricia Thomas, Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism at Grady College, and Daniel G. Colley, professor of microbiology at UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases.

Date: April 4, 2017
Author:  Stephanie Moreno,
Contact:  Patricia Thomas,