New Chair and co-Chair of the APMEN Vivax Working Group announced

16 Mar 2021
Caroline Lynch and Karma Lhazeen looking directly ahead

Following the announcement that Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) will host the APMEN Vivax Working Group (VxWG) for 2 years starting in January 2021, Dr Karma Lhazeen and Dr Caroline Lynch have been selected as Chair and co-Chair of the group, respectively. They succeed Dr Ric Price of Menzies School of Health Research who has chaired the group since 2009, leading and delivering outstanding research outputs that have been key to bringing new tools for P. vivax malaria onstream.  

Dr Karma Lhazeen is the Director of the Department of Public Health in the Ministry of Health, Bhutan. She is a medical doctor who graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Nalanda Medical College, India. She holds a Masters in Clinical Tropical Medicine from the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Tropical Disease Research. She has worked as the Program Manager for the Vector Borne Disease Control Programme and managed the Small Grant Programme at the South East Asia Regional Office of WHO in India. Dr Karma has been involved in the Vivax Working Group since it was established in 2009 and has a rich experience stemming from having supported her country in getting to pre-elimination.  In her current role, Dr Karma has been deployed as part of the Bhutan government’s world renowned COVID-19 vaccination programme, which has already reached over 60 percent of its population with a first dose. 

Dr Karma is supported by co-Chair, Dr Caroline Lynch the Regional Advisor for MMV, covering the Greater Mekong Subregion, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Dr Lynch is a parasitologist and epidemiologist with over 20 years’ experience leading, designing, delivering, evaluating and influencing malaria control, maternal health and family planning programmes across 30 countries. Carrie holds a PhD in Malaria Epidemiology with a focus on migration and malaria in Uganda from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and an MSc in Applied Parasitology and Medical Entomology from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). 

Supported by the APMEN Secretariat, as Chair and co-Chair Drs Karma and Lynch aim to build on the achievements, and huge body of evidence generated be the Vivax Working Group to date while pivoting the group’s focus towards supporting National Malaria Programmes in the region to improve vivax radical cure based on WHO normative guidance. The Working Group held its first TechTalk on 22nd April to outline the draft workplan for the next two years and to solicit feedback from participants. A recording of this session is provided below. Dr Karma joined the TechTalk from the COVID ‘red zone’ in Bhutan where she is coordinating COVID-19 vaccination efforts in an area of small-scale community transmission.  

View the first TechTalk of 2021 here.