World Malaria Day Call To Action On Indoor Residual Spraying

Africa Fighting Malaria | 23 Apr 2008
Medical News Today
Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) is a highly effective method of malaria control recommended by the World Health Organization, but it is underutilized and under-funded. Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM) maintains that all methods of malaria control must be scaled up - not just insecticide-treated nets - in order to reduce the 1 million deaths caused by deadly mosquitoes annually.

For World Malaria Day 2008 (April 25th), AFM created an interactive Africa map to indicate which countries are conducting IRS along with the main financiers: the US President's Malaria Initiative, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the private sector and malarial country governments. AFM also produced a series of reports on IRS covering major public and private sector IRS activities, as well as 46 individual African country briefs.

"World Malaria Day 2008 focuses on malaria across borders - and some of the best cross-border malaria control programs rely heavily on IRS," said AFM Director Richard Tren. "IRS has saved millions of lives since the 1930s and continues to do so. Yet with unprecedented public resources available for malaria control, donor agencies remain loath to strengthen IRS programs in Africa, train a new cadre of malariologists and medical entomologists to run them, and invest in new insecticides. Some of the insecticides Africa relies on were developed before World War II."

AFM's Call to Action to support IRS:

Increase funding for IRS - The President's Malaria Initiative is a global leader in IRS funding. Other donor agencies must now also start to support IRS providing the insecticides, equipment and funds to train and employ spray personnel. The Global Fund provides relatively little support for IRS. Malaria country governments should apply for IRS support and also invest more of their own health care budgets in IRS.

Invest in new insecticides - Public health programs rely on old insecticides, originally developed for the agricultural sector. There has been scant investment in new public health insecticides and in finding new applications of existing products. Insecticide resistance is spreading in Africa, reducing the efficacy of both IRS and long-lasting insecticidal nets. We cannot allow our main methods of malaria control to be compromised because of inaction and limited investment in public health insecticides.

Invest in malariologists and medical entomologists - Malarial countries need to train and employ a new generation of scientists that can run and maintain effective control programs. Without trained malariologists, medical entomologists, scientists and malaria control personnel, no elimination or eradication of malaria will be possible.

Tren continues, "There is more funding and political will to control malaria today than ever before. We must now have wider support for IRS and for new insecticide development. Without it, malaria will remain a global health disaster."

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