Maine Company Wins U.S. Department of State Award for Fighting Malaria

Nov. 21, 2019

MCD Group shot of leadership

From left to right: Back row: Elizabeth Foley, co-director, MCD Public Health; Danielle Louder, co-director, MCD Public Health; Dr. Jennifer Morton, associate professor and director, Department of Nursing and Population Health at the University of New England, Holly Stover, Maine State Representative, District 89, and executive director, Lincoln County Dental Program, Heather Metten, director of finance at MCD. Middle row: Mark Winter, state office representative for Sen. Susan Collins; Ben Tucker, regional representative for Sen. Angus King; Pam Trinward, field representative for Rep. Chellie Pingree. Front row: Yellow Light Breen, CEO and president of the Maine Development Foundation; Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine's Center for Disease Control; Chris Schwabe, CEO and president of MCD; Evelyn Kieltyka, senior vice president of program services for the Family Planning Association of Maine and Chair of MCD's Board of Directors.

Maine-based global public health nonprofit, Medical Care Development Inc. (MCD), has received the 2019 P3 Impact Award from the U.S. Department of State recognizing public-private partnerships that effectively address global challenges. The award was given to MCD and its partners for their work during the past 15 years through the Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Project (BIMEP) to eliminate malaria on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea, reducing transmission by 99 percent and mortality in children under the age of five by 63 percent.

MCD's receipt of the State Department's P3 Award was celebrated today at a ceremony at the Hall of Flags at the State House in Augusta. The award recognizes MCD Inc.'s leadership, management and technical assistance role through the BIMEP to eliminate malaria from Bioko Island in partnership with the government of Equatorial Guinea's National Malaria Control Program, Sanaria, a U.S.-based biotech company developing a malaria vaccine, and various research institutes around the world. Christopher Schwabe, PhD, president and CEO of MCD, accepted the award along with staff and other dignitaries. Schwabe has worked closely with the Ministry of Health of Equatorial Guinea and other BIMEP partners for ten years on this lifesaving work.

Through the BIMEP public-private partnership, the National Malaria Control Program of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Equatorial Guinea has had the support of the following partners to eliminate malaria: (1) MCD's International Division, MCDI, for project management and technical assistance; (2) Sanaria, Inc., a US-biotech malaria vaccine development company for the development and testing of a malaria vaccine; (3) the Ifakara Health Institute for south-south scientific support and capacity strengthening; (4) the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute for clinical laboratory diagnostics and capacity strengthening; (5) Texas A&M University for advanced entomological monitoring and mosquito genetics; (6) the University of Southern Maine for programming a mobile health application for managing an elimination campaign; (7) the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for insecticide resistance monitoring; and, (8) the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for program impact monitoring and evaluation.

"As a Maine-based global public health company, our employees take great pride in being part of this project and earning such a high honor for our work. Collaborating with great partners, we have substantially reduced the scourge of malaria from Bioko where the disease was previously the number one cause of morbidity and mortality for the residents of the island. This is one example of a wide range of highly impactful initiatives that MCD undertakes overseas, throughout Maine and across the United States, leveraging the experience and capabilities the organization has acquired from more than 50 years of work in serving rural and underserved communities here in Maine, the U.S. and globally," said Schwabe.

Speakers at the press conference included Christopher Schwabe, PhD, president and CEO of MCD, Evelyn Kieltyka, MSN, MS, FNP-BC, senior vice president of program services at Maine Family Planning and board chair for MCD, Yellow Light Breen, President and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation and Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as remarks in a letter from Sen. Susan Collins. There was also written recognition for MCD's accomplishments from Sen. Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Jared Golden.

As part of this long-term public-private malaria elimination initiative, the BIMEP project has also informed the broader malaria control and elimination strategy for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, including tracking and preventing the disease by killing the Anopheles mosquitos responsible for its transmission and, more recently, by testing the safety, tolerability and efficacy of a new malaria vaccine.

The P3 Impact Award is presented annually by the Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society, and Concordia. The award recognizes leading cross-sector collaborations that feature public, private, nonprofit or non-governmental organizations addressing societal challenges. BIMEP is the sixth public-private partnership to win the annual award, and the first to win both the P3 Impact Award conferred by a panel of experts and to be selected by conference attendees from among the finalists for the Audience Choice Award.

"There has been an incredible impact of the BIMEP program on Bioko Island in terms of not only the frequency of the illness per person but in terms of economic development. When I was a kid, I used to have three or four episodes of per month of malaria. Malaria was endemic, there wouldn't be a month when kids like myself wouldn't feel ill as a consequence of malaria. Since the BIMEP has been in place, we have reduced not only the child mortality rate, but increased the productivity level of the people of the island immensely because of the reduction of absenteeism from work. It has not only allowed families to earn more income, but has also reduced what they have to spend on health care, leaving them with extra cash to invest in their own well-being," said Mitoha Ondo'o Ayekaba, vice minister of health of Equatorial Guinea.

In addition to the work in Equatorial Guinea, MCD is recognized as an international leader in malaria diagnostics and treatment, serving as the lead technical assistance organization in 20 African countries under the U.S. Government's President's Malaria Initiative's flagship global services delivery project, Impact Malaria. In addition to its work on malaria prevention and control, MCD also supports public health efforts in Africa and Latin America in maternal, neonatal and child health, HIV/AIDS and TB care and prevention, Zika prevention and control, cervical cancer screening and prevention, and community-led programs to improve sanitation.

Medical Care Development Inc. was founded and incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Maine in 1966 by a group of health care leaders to manage the federally funded Regional Medical Program to strengthen rural health, including emergency medical services, telemedicine programs, workforce development and academic medicine. In 1977, MCD became the state's primary agency for coordinating, creating and evaluating education in medical facilities throughout Maine. Today, MCD implements a wide range of public health programs in Maine and across the country, including community health and wellness, worksite health and wellness, chronic disease management, disease and injury prevention, substance misuse and mental health, telehealth and information technology, workforce development and quality improvement, health policy and equity, and other emerging public health issues.

A large portion of MCD's Maine-based efforts are focused on supporting a wide array of public health programs in partnership with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Across the decades, MCD has assisted the DHHS, Maine CDC and statewide stakeholders with developing proposals, as well as in program management and implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Based in Augusta, MCD is the home of the Northeast Telehealth Resource Center, a federally funded program focused on enhancing access to care in rural and underserved areas through telehealth by providing technical assistance and resources to health care systems and providers throughout New England, New York and New Jersey. MCD's online training programs help build capacity of the health care workforce across the U.S., reaching more than 6,200 users across 40 states. It also administers a statewide worksite health and wellness program for one of Maine's largest employers, facilitating access to services and resources for up to 30,000 employees, dependents and retirees. Finally, it is home to Healthy Lincoln County, which is well known for its efforts to promote improved health outcomes at the community level.

Sen. Susan Collins congratulates MCD:

Equatorial Guinea
malaria elimination