Submitted by Elissa Jensen
Thanks to a little teamwork, efforts toward sustainable malaria control in Africa just received a boost. Indoor residual spraying (IRS), a mainstay of malaria eradication efforts for decades, has typically involved oversight by health specialists trained in IRS application. But the intervention also requires input from environmental experts, who have historically been overlooked in IRS operations.
This summer, with USAID support under the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), environmental experts from across Africa participated in a workshop in Kisumu, Kenya, to review and refine best practices to support health teams in providing oversight and management of IRS. The workshop was the first of its kind to introduce such an integrated approach.
In addition to discussing the development of environmental assessments and proper waste disposal, participants addressed the challenges associated with proper implementation of IRS considering real-life constraints, such as scarcity of water and lack of infrastructure.
With their training, participants will increasingly work alongside counterparts from the health sector to provide oversight of environmental components of IRS operations, thereby strengthening local and regional capacity for sustainable malaria control. Soon after the workshop, in fact, two of the participants conducted environmental inspections and provided technical assistance in new spray areas in Zambia and Ethiopia.
USAID is proud to contribute to PMI, which has provided IRS to nearly 7 million houses and protected 27 million people through spray campaigns since 2006.