BURKINA FASO: Testing indoor spray for malaria prevention

02 Jun 2010
Health teams are spraying homes with insecticide in the high-risk southwest, in Burkina Faso's first trial of the method to combat malaria. In 2009 the disease struck more than 20,000 people and killed 110 in the targeted district, according to the Health Ministry.

Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the project is expected to cover 25,000 households in the district of Diébougou - using the insecticide bendiocarb - for one season at a cost of US$1.4 million.

Indoor spraying should take place before the rainy season each year and cover most homes in endemic areas, but health workers say given the cost it is not yet clear when Burkina would be able to apply the method annually across the country.

"For now only endemic areas can receive [indoor spraying] because of its cost," Patrice Combary, head of the national programme against malaria, told IRIN.

USAID plans to treat Diébougou again next year, along with another district yet to be designated, according to Adama Koné, head of the indoor residual spraying project in Burkina.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says indoor spraying is most effective when 80 percent of households in targeted areas are treated. WHO says the method, using DDT or other effective insecticides, should be included in national malaria control strategies where the proper conditions exist. "There must be sufficient capacity to deliver the intervention effectively, prevent unauthorized and un-recommended use of public health pesticides and manage insecticide resistance," WHO's Africa office says in a 2007 paper.

Indoor spraying is seen as reinforcing existing measures - insecticide-treated bed nets and appropriate drugs for patients with probable or confirmed malaria.

The government plans by end-June to distribute eight million treated bed nets - one net for every two people.

Burkina registered some four million cases of malaria in 2009, according to the Health Ministry. In 2008 malaria struck 247 million people worldwide, killing one million, WHO says; most of the deaths were children in Africa. In Africa every 45 seconds a child dies of the disease.