Wendy P O'Meara, PhD

Associate Professor in Medicine
Associate Research Professor of Global Health
Campus mail Eldoret Kenya, Box 90519, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 681-7711
Email address wendy.omeara@duke.edu

Dr. O'Meara has been working in the field of malaria diagnosis, treatment, and drug resistance since 2004. She is an Associate Professor at Duke University Medical School in the Division of Infectious Diseases, visiting professor at Moi University, and the Co-Field Director of Research for AMPATH.  She has been based full-time in Kenya since 2007.

Dr. O’Meara’s team is interested in improving rational drug use for suspected malaria fevers through expanding the use of diagnostic tools in the community and in health facilities.  As many as 90% of fevers that seek treatment in the formal sector receive antimalarials, and it is estimated that only 20% of those buying antimalarials over-the-counter in the retail sector actually have malaria.  Such overuse poses a significant threat to the continued efficacy of first-line antimalarials. Dr. O’Meara has conducted several randomized controlled trials in western Kenya to test interventions designed to improve the use of information from malaria diagnostic testing in order to target antimalarials to those with confirmed infection. In 2005, she helped to establish the Malaria Diagnostic Centre of Excellence in Kisumu, Kenya.

Recently, she concluded a case-controlled study with colleagues at Moi University that identified the major determinants of insecticide treated bednet failure in western Kenya. Among other results, the study showed that asymptomatically infected household members may be a risk factor for children living in the same household. Current work is extending this observation by leveraging variability in key parasite genes to describe the spatial mixing of malaria infections and track generations of infections from humans to mosquitoes (collaboration with Steve Taylor’s lab).

Dr. O’Meara has experience in marrying innovative spatial techniques with epidemiologic outcomes.  Recent work includes an analysis of health systems factors that contribute to early childhood mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003

Publications

Kiggundu, Valerian L., Wendy P. O’Meara, Richard Musoke, Fred K. Nalugoda, Godfrey Kigozi, Enos Baghendaghe, Tom Lutalo, et al. “High prevalence of malaria parasitemia and anemia among hospitalized children in Rakai, Uganda..” Plos One 8, no. 12 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0082455.

PMID
24358185
Full Text

Obala, A. A., C. J. Simiyu, D. O. Odhiambo, V. Nanyu, P. Chege, R. Downing, E. Mwaliko, et al. “Webuye Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems Baseline Survey of Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Intestinal Protozoa among Children up to Five Years..” J Trop Med 2013 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/734562.

PMID
23533444
Full Text

Rusk, Andria, Catherine Goodman, Violet Naanyu, Beatrice Koech, Andrew Obala, and Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara. “Expanding Access to Malaria Diagnosis through Retail Shops in Western Kenya: What Do Shop Workers Think?.” Malar Res Treat 2013 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/398143.

PMID
23766923
Full Text

Rusk, Andria, Nathan Smith, Diana Menya, Andrew Obala, Chrispinus Simiyu, Barasa Khwa-Otsyula, and Wendy O’Meara. “Does anti-malarial drug knowledge predict anti-malarial dispensing practice in drug outlets? A survey of medicine retailers in western Kenya..” Malar J 11 (August 6, 2012). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-11-263.

PMID
22866866
Full Text

Smith, Nathan, Andrew Obala, Chrispinus Simiyu, Diana Menya, Barasa Khwa-Otsyula, and Wendy Prudhomme O’Meara. “Accessibility, availability and affordability of anti-malarials in a rural district in Kenya after implementation of a national subsidy scheme..” Malar J 10 (October 26, 2011). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-10-316.

PMID
22029829
Full Text

O’Meara, Wendy Prudhomme, Benjamin Tsofa, Sassy Molyneux, Catherine Goodman, and F Ellis McKenzie. “Community and facility-level engagement in planning and budgeting for the government health sector--a district perspective from Kenya..” Health Policy 99, no. 3 (March 2011): 234–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.08.027.

PMID
20888061
Full Text

O’Meara, Wendy Prudhomme, Nathan Smith, Emmanuel Ekal, Donald Cole, and Samson Ndege. “Spatial distribution of bednet coverage under routine distribution through the public health sector in a rural district in Kenya..” Plos One 6, no. 10 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0025949.

PMID
22022481
Full Text

O’Meara, Wendy Prudhomme, Judith Nekesa Mangeni, Rick Steketee, and Brian Greenwood. “Changes in the burden of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa..” Lancet Infect Dis 10, no. 8 (August 2010): 545–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(10)70096-7.

PMID
20637696
Full Text

O’Meara, W. P., and T. Lang. “Malaria vaccine trial endpoints - bridging the gaps between trial design, public health and the next generation of vaccines..” Parasite Immunol 31, no. 9 (September 2009): 574–81. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3024.2009.01144.x.

PMID
19691560
Full Text

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