Knowledge Transfer Program On Vector-Borne Diseases
Apart from from maintaining the biobank resources, the outpost also conducts research in diseases transmitted by ticks and other related arthropods, including chiggers and fleas, which affect the rural communities in Malaysia. Studies in the Orang Asli and oil palm plantation communities have identified the presence of several neglected arthropod-borne infectious agents, including Rickettsia, Borrelia and Coxiella. Surveillance studies have shown that the rural communities in Malaysia are at risks to the infections of these agents. However, there is still lack of effective diagnostics for these infections. Consequently, these diseases remain under-diagnosed and under-appreciated in our country. Using the resources available from the biobank, the outpost will attempt to conduct in-depth investigations into the biology and genetics of these infectious agents, as well as to generate the reagents for improving the diagnostic and treatment options for these diseases in the future.
In addition, the outpost also conduct outreach activities among the communities affected by these arthropod-borne diseases. Interactive workshops were organized for the Orang Asli communities or rural school children with the aim of improving their awareness in the public health risks associated with the arthropod-borne infectious agents. Workshop attendees participated in our “lab-on-the-field” and were also trained in hygiene practices to prevent disease transmission. It is our hope that the outreach activities will also inspire the younger generation of these under-served communities to have greater interests in science education and research.
Community Engagement Workshop among Orang Asli Communities
It was a fun-filled day for about 110 orang Asli from Kampung Tumbuh Hangat, Bota , Perak took part in a Community Engagement Workshop organized by TIDREC on 27th October 2018.
The workshop was aimed to engage with the Orang Asli communities as well as to improve the awareness and knowledge of ectoparasite-associated diseases among them.
Throughout this workshop, all participants were taught about ectoparasite-associated diseases, importance of hand washing including a practical demo was also given for a better understanding of washing hands properly.
Among the interactive activities conducted throughout the programme were mosquito puzzle games, spot the ticks, lucky draws and all participants were given opportunities to observe the physiological of the blackflies under the microscope provided.
Young Scientist Workshop
Recognizing the importance of exposing young people to the ecology and biology of the arthropod family, TIDREC, organized a practical workshop with 30 students of SK Petaling Jaya (1), Selangor recently. This is the first time, TIDREC organize such program. We chose to engage with school children aged 10 and 11, and share with them about the biological of blood-sucking insects, such as Aedes mosquitoes, ticks, and black flies. The main objective of this workshop is to provide knowledge transfer on vectors of disease agent to community in Malaysia.
The main activity carried out with the students of this school is the observation of the physiological forms and physiology of these three species under the microscope provided. The workshops included an activities to strengthen their understanding, including answering quiz questions, completing 'puzzle', and constructing clay-based insect models