The scale down of malaria control activities due to the COVID-19 outbreak risks to derail the gains achieved and might set us back to similar levels of malaria death as 20 years ago, a recent modelling by WHO and partners warns.
Building a strong partnership for malaria control
World Malaria Day serves as an opportune moment for everyone to reflect on how we can best contribute to sustaining the gains achieved against a disease that continues to devastate humankind, with women and children being disproportionately affected on the African continent.
The Pan-African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA) is working to build a platform for advancing expert knowledge exchange and support for malaria endemic countries in Africa.
On this World Malaria Day, we urge all PAMCA members, malaria control experts, civil society, NGOs and the private sector to come together, to support national malaria control programmes (NMCP), to defeat the disease and save lives.
We must continue to promote cross-country dialogue about the challenges facing malaria control efforts as we work to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through strong networks, we must share good practice and innovations that promote the continuation of much needed vector control initiatives across our chapters and collaborators in Africa.
Strengthening vector surveillance for malaria elimination
Although vector control has been the backbone of the progress made in malaria control, the capacity to conduct practical and effective entomological surveillance in most endemic countries is weak and unresponsive to national or sub-national needs.
Our long-term vision is to work with other partners to substantially increase the entomology capacity and develop best practices in the surveillance and control of mosquito-borne diseases in Africa.
We aim to reach a critical mass of well-trained entomologists and mosquito control officers both in quantity and in quality, who will be at the service of Ministries of Health and NMCPs to drive malaria elimination efforts.
Malaria elimination in Africa requires complementary new tools that can be used alongside mosquito nets, indoor spraying and larval source management.
Genetic approaches, such as the use of gene-drive technology for mosquito population suppression or replacement offer potential high-impact interventions to achieve this goal.
PAMCA and partners are working to strengthen vector surveillance systems and investigate the genetic diversity and gene-flow dynamics in Anopheles mosquitoes in Africa.
Increasing the role of women in malaria control
PAMCA recognises that women are key agents of change in programmes to combat public health challenges, including malaria.
Through our flagship programme, “Women in Vector Control”, we seek to advance women’s participation in leadership and management in health and in the decision-making and implementation of vector control interventions.
The involvement of women will enhance the acceptance and compliance of communities in the fight against malaria.
On this World Malaria day, PAMCA urges the dismantling of gender stereotypes by incorporating women in the research, design, delivery and adoption of malaria interventions.