Malaria

Doctor Kamini Mendis

Independent consultant in malaria and tropical medicine, Columbo, Sri Lanka

Dr Kamini Mendis is an independent Consultant on malaria and tropical medicine, having retired in October 2010 as the Coordinator of malaria treatment, and malaria elimination in the World Health Organisation, Geneva. She began her career as a clinician and moved to research on immunology and vaccine development in malaria, and then onto a wide range of fields in the areas of immunology, epidemiology, clinical studies, pathogenesis, and disease control in malaria. In 1980 she founded the Malaria Research Centre at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, and a postgraduate training programme in research, supervising many PhD and MSc students and building a network of young scientists in Sri Lanka. She continued academic pursuits in Sri Lanka as a Professor in Parasitology until 1997 when she left for Geneva. She has made several original contributions to scientific knowledge on malaria. Her work on malaria research has been honoured by national and international awards such as the National Presidential Award (1983), the Chalmers Medal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (1991), and the Ashford Bailey Medal of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (1993). She has served on international scientific and review boards and committees on malaria and on international health, chaired several such international committees and delivered keynote addresses at international events in Tropical Medicine including being the Gorgas Memorial Orator, USA in 2000.

She helped establish the Global Forum for Health Research in Geneva in 1997, and then served in the Transition Secretariat of the then Director-General-elect of the World Health Organization. She was instrumental in the planning and launch of the Global Roll Back Malaria Initiative in 1998 and then headed the component on treatment and elimination of malaria at the Global Malaria Programme in the World Health Organization where she was engaged in global efforts to reduce the burden of malaria.

Dr Mendis is currently engaged in malaria control efforts in the Southeast Asian region, and has conducted several national reviews of malaria control programmes and assessments of case management programmes in malaria in countries in the region. She serves as a malaria adviser to international funding agencies, and as a member of several international expert committees on malaria.

Her current interests and pursuits involve supporting regional and international efforts to strengthen the evidence-to-policy pathway for malaria by bridging the research and control gaps in the field, and to promote epidemiology-based malaria control to enhance the movement of countries from control to elimination of malaria; addressing more broadly health issues in the context of poverty; and helping build critical human resource capacities for evidence-based malaria control.

Last updated: 15 December 2011

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