mobile malaria project

Day 2/3. Walvis(h) Bay

published on
Sunday 24 March 2019 - Monday 25 March 2019 | Distance travelled: 0km

We've spent the last couple of days in Walvis Bay. The prounication of this quiet town with a Nambian accent always adds a Sean Connery-esque 'sh' to the end. It's a sleepy town with wide boulevards, palm trees and flat houses. It felt almost apololyptic over the weekend, with barely a soul to be seen on the streets, save the occasional jay walker on their way to the sea front.

The town is built on a block system and to its northern edge is a long esplanade around 5km long and which circles the eponymous lagoon. At low water flamingo and pelicans come to graze in the shallows along the coastline, and seals can be seen jumping around in the water.

We've been working on developing our workshop materials for the teaching that we're going to deliver in Zambia and Kenya. It's all reasonably last minute as we've only really just started to get data from our sequening machines from malaria samples. Thanks entirely to Jason's heroics in the lab, we now have some working pipelines that we can share and which will potentially have some impact to the people that we're working with.

A key part of the training that we're developing is in bioinformatics, which is essentially the computational processes needed to analyse the digital data generated by sequencing machines. It's all well and good having new, exciting technology in country, but if people can't use it, and can't analyse the data generated from it, then it won't get used in the future. Although we're only spending two days training people, we hope that we can provide people with enough of a baseline for them to begin to use the machines moe frequently after we have gone.


We're in a strange sort of limbo. We now know that the expedition proper can't start for another week. This is frustrating in some ways, but a distractionless few days will do our preparations no end of good. Isaac and I will go to Windhoek tomorrow for a couple of days to meet our collaborators at the University of Namibia, but without the car, our visit will be somewhat muted. Nevertheless we'll be able to learn about the work that's being done in pre-elimination Namibia, and I'm hoping that we'll get our first interviews for our podcast.