Pageant's main focus in The Gambia is
education; helping students with their school fees, providing
teaching resources and undertaking construction projects in schools.
Sickness and poor living conditions also have a detrimental effect
on a child's education, so Pageant involves itself with health and
self sufficiency projects in village communities. Malaria is endemic
in The Gambia, so Pageant has provided
for villagers - one of the many 'gifts' available under Pageant's
Ethical Gift Scheme.
Pageant is also supporting a treatment for Malaria using the plant
A vital part of the effective management of
Malaria and other diseases is being able to precisely diagnose the
disease so that appropriate treatment can be given. Diagnosis can be
made by microscopic examinations of blood or other samples. In
countries such as The Gambia there can be a significant delay while
samples are sent to central laboratories, so there is a pressing
need for a microscope that can be used in-situ for rapid diagnosis.
Conventional microscopes are unsuited to use in field conditions,
and are too expensive.
McArthur microscope was launched
in 1990. This is a fully functional microscope, with
'folded optics' to make it ultra-compact and readily portable.
However, it is still a laboratory instrument and too expensive, even
in its lower cost plastic version. The
Meade Readiview pocket microscope
was based on McArthur's work. It was designed in Cambridge and then manufactured in the USA. It is
cheaper and more suited to field use, with magnifications up to
160x, but it is now only available second hand. The
Trekker microscope is a further
development, which is small, inexpensive, and very robust. Its low
magnification (35x) makes it unsuitable for diagnostic work, though
it is ideal for educational use, and is one of
Pageant's Ethical Gifts.
The Millennium Health Microscope
The Millennium Health Microscope (MHM)
has been conceived by much the same team responsible for the
Readiview and Trekker, and a non-profit organisation, the
Millennium Health Microscope Foundation, has been formed to
handle its development and production.
The MHM will be as
compact and rugged as the Trekker, but will have interchangeable
objectives up to 100:1, standard RMS eyepieces, integral lighting
and an indexing stage.
The target price in quantity production is
of the MHM Foundation are currently trying to arrange funding.
The immediate objective is to raise £12K, which should trigger
'matched funding' of £36K from an East of England Development
Agency grant. The total of £48K will be sufficient to implement
Stage 1, which aims to produce two or three 'Alpha' prototypes.
These will be supplied to the WHO
Schistosomiasis Centre in
Africa for trials. On successful completion of these trials,
approaches will be made to the Gates Foundation and others to
raise much larger sums needed to put the microscope into full
production with a view to donating them to developing countries.
So far the MHM Foundation has received
pledges of £4000. This includes a donation of £1000 from
Pageant. In return, the MHM Foundation will give Pageant between
10 and 20 microscopes, when they are in production. Pageant will
distribute these in the up-country areas of The Gambia. A further £8000
is now required for Stage 1
to commence. The MHM Foundation are approaching businesses, local chambers of
commerce etc. Individuals are asked to donate whatever they can
afford, and an online donation link will be on this
Latest News - 25 August 2007
We have just heard that the MHM
Foundation has been awarded a £15,000 grant from the East of
England Development Agency. With donations this brings the total
raised so far to nearly £20,000.
Latest News - 3
The MHM Foundation has made a start on
developing the new microscope. They have raised another $10K
from US donations, bringing the total raised so far to £23K.
£15K funding has been guaranteed by the East of England
Development Agency. This is based on the development of the
next month, with staged payments over nine months. This could
result in the timeline becoming somewhat
stretched. However, they have a meeting with the Wellcome Trust
later this month where they hope to get a donation of £15K. If
successful this will accelerate the development time.
The Millennium Health Microscope
Foundation have their
own website, which gives a
fuller description of the MHM Foundation, the microscope and the
tropical diseases it will be used to diagnose.
There is a full but concise article "From
the McArthur to the Millennium Health Microscope (MHM): Future
Developments in Microscope Miniaturization for International
Health", by Keith Dunning & J Russell Stothard, published in the
March 2007 edition of
Microscopy Today. The Editor
of Microscopy Today has generously given us permission to make
this available in PDF format.
click this link
If you can help in any way, or would like
further information about the MHM, please email
You can donate online, using CAF
or PayPal or by bank transfer. Full
details are on