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UTSC graduates support the development of malaria case study

A malaria rapid-testing kit

Two graduates of the Department of Health and Society have collaborated on a new case study to help students understand the determinants of malaria, explore the mechanisms of popular malaria tests, and attempt to address and solve barriers relating to malaria outbreaks within Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mona Jarrah, who graduated UTSC in 2019 with a double major in Neuroscience and Population Health and is now studying for a Masters in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Shawanah Rahman, a 2020 graduate with a double major in Population Science and Human Biology, who is currently working toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at University of Toronto Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing developed the study alongside DHS Assistant Professor Obidimma Ezezika.

The case study “A Fatal Bite: Investigating a Malaria Outbreak in Sub-Saharan Africa,” was published by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.

In this case study, students follow “Mr. Okoro” as he makes the long journey with his sick daughter “Ada” to seek medical attention at the nearest clinic in Enugu, Nigeria. It is the rainy season, and “Dr. Fabian” from the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria has been called in to investigate a suspected outbreak of malaria. Students learn about the circumstances in Ada’s background that may have led to her illness, and then adopt the perspective of Dr. Fabian as she investigates the outbreak. They consider the epidemiological triangle, the different stages of the Plasmodium parasite lifecycle and how it leads to malaria, and evaluate the broader societal factors and future implications of malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. The case was designed for upper-level global health, public health, and human biology courses, but could also be adapted for general biology, health studies, infectious disease, and epidemiology courses.

“What motivated us to create this case study was our passion for storytelling and the power it has to draw you in and become more excited about a topic,” said Jarrah.

Rahman added: “Using storytelling as our medium, we created a case study about malaria, where we had all the important scientific concepts (required by many courses) embedded within a fictional story, to make learning fun and fresh.”

“Having this case study published for other instructors around the globe to use has been a dream for us, and it’s our hope that other students have fun learning these concepts and even develop their own stories for other topics!” said Jarrah.

Read the full case study here.

Photo: USAID, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons