Macha Research Trust (MRT) is a community-based research institute situated in the rural area of Macha in Choma District of the Southern Province of Zambia. It was in this area in the early 1900’s that two American missionary women were given a tract of land by the colonial government of what was then Northern Rhodesia, to begin mission work for the Brethren in Christ Church of North America. The mission became known as Macha Mission, taking its name from the local chief.
In addition to spiritual ministry, the mission work included education of and medical aid to the local population. In 1957 Macha Mission Hospital was opened, and to this day continues to be well known throughout Zambia for providing good medical care. Malaria research began at the hospital in 1988 and in 2005 a separate entity known as the Malaria Institute at Macha (MIAM) was officially opened. The name was later changed to Macha Research Trust and established as an independent not-for-profit research institute and registered as a Zambian legal entity.
Since its inception MRT has been an example of a home-grown institute that working together with the community and hospital program, has contributed to the remarkable improvement in the well-being of people living in the region surrounding Macha. Its research findings, particularly the early work on better drugs for malaria, have been used on a much wider basis throughout the country and the region. In the Macha area the incidence of malaria has decreased by more than 95% since the beginning of the research work, contributing to a drastic reduction of infant and child mortality over the past 10 years. Additional work on HIV diagnosis and prevention has been associated with a remarkable reduction in the number of infants born with this infection in the Macha area.