Global Health Innovations: Harvard launches MalariaX online course

Alyssa GovindanNews

A new series featuring promising product or service innovations in global health

Malaria is a devastating disease of massive scale and global reach. Worldwide, nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria. Much work remains, but recent data shows that alliances across diverse areas of the business sector have significantly contributed to recent gains in the decades-long fight against malaria.

In the past decade, Public-Private Partnerships have enabled major advances in our understanding of malaria, yielding breakthroughs in science and in the ways life-saving interventions can be deployed and scaled up. In addition to bridging the gap between the ‘bench to the bedside,’ the private sector has enabled opportunities for thoughtful reflection and critical examination of our progress toward malaria eradication.

Delivering a Better Night’s Sleep/Todd Jennings

In 2017, with support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, Harvard University leveraged the full spectrum of malaria activities at the university to re-convene a Rethinking Malaria Leadership Forum at Harvard Business School. In addition to marking the ten-year anniversary of the inaugural Rethinking Malaria — an event that catalyzed the establishment of an annual “Science of Eradication: Malaria” course to prepare individuals to assume leadership positions in the malaria field — the forum offered an assembly of malaria experts, global health professionals, and business leaders an opportunity to explore lessons learned, obstacles, and ‘what if’ scenarios, and emerging opportunities to build on developments from the field.

This year, Harvard and other global malaria partners will take on the challenges raised at the 2017 Rethinking Malaria Leadership Forum. In addition, the university will build upon ExxonMobil’s investments in malaria leadership development by offering the next generation of malaria leaders an innovative, multidisciplinary perspective on malaria disease control and eradication. As one of several “public good” offerings to support malaria eradication efforts, Harvard launched a free, new online course called, “MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe.”

Based on the weeklong intensive “Science of Eradication: Malaria,” MalariaX faculty instructors guide learners to analyze real-world data, demonstrating effective applications with a focus on in-demand analytical skills, and evidence-based intervention strategies for national and local disease eradication.

We now have the ability to provide a broader group of people with an opportunity to explore cutting-edge science and the policies needed to control and eliminate malaria. The more people involved in the fight, the faster we’ll achieve eradication.” – Suzanne McCarron, VP Public and Government Affairs, Exxon Mobile Corporation

The self-paced course structure allows learners to complete the eight-part course on their own schedule and retain life-long access to course resources, including video interviews with malaria experts, French language transcripts of lectures, and technical resources like “Partnering to Eliminate Malaria in Zambia,” a Harvard Case Study by Professor Michael Reich, and a new malaria textbook co-edited by Professor Dyann Wirth and Dr. Pedro Alonso, head of the Global Malaria Programme at the WHO. MalariaX course components are valuable resources to malaria advocates and can be easily integrated into existing workshops, staff trainings, or used as stand-alone tools.

Suzanne McCarron, Exxon Mobil

The days of intense conversation about the future of malaria eradication and leadership at the Rethinking Malaria Leadership Forum inspired a new era of determination in the fight against malaria — and would not have been possible without private sector involvement and support. The global malaria community has learned from the lessons of the first Global Malaria Eradication Program, and now embraces the idea that increased access to education and resources is an essential step to eliminating malaria.

MalariaX is a valuable and timeless resource that I believe will help educate and train a new generation of public health leaders, who are responding to the challenges of malaria around the world.” – Professor Dyann Wirth, MalariaX Course Director.

MalariaX course trailer:


This article is not an endorsement by GBCHealth or any members of its Board of Directors. GBCHealth does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services.

Alyssa GovindanGlobal Health Innovations: Harvard launches MalariaX online course