Malaria: a full-time problem addressed on a part-time basis by amateur entomologists | MalariaWorldPosted: July 23, 2012
We need to get serious about malaria vector control, take a full-time approach to it and provide job security and progression to managers and technicians so they continue in their posts and not take the first opportunity for permanent positions outside malaria control. Vector control programmes need to implement active vector suppression interventions with reliable equipment and materials, implement insecticide resistance prevention and correction methods and attack the vector on all fronts: larvae, pupae and adults. In addition, we must stop the dependence on a single class of insecticides (the pyrethroids), the group most commonly used in IRS and the only one used in ITNs. This widespread reliance on a single class of insecticides increases the risk of mosquitoes developing resistance to it, of particular concern in Africa, where mosquito nets are being deployed at unprecedented levels and IRS coverage is rapidly increasing. Once insecticide resistance is established in mosquito populations, about half of the insecticides available for vector control would be rendered useless; leaving countries with a malaria problem several orders of magnitude more severe than it is today.
It is time to get serious about vector-borne disease control and place trained public health entomologists and technicians where their training and experience can be most effective and have the highest impact. It is critical that we have programme managers who consider public health insecticides as drugs for the environment, understand their counter indications, are conscientious about their potential side effects on human health and the environment and deploy them as intended and when they can produce the greatest impact on the mosquito. We need malaria vector control programme managers who know the vectors in their areas of responsibility and are able to design and implement a programme that deploys as many vector population suppression tools as are feasible their countries and against as many of the developmental stages of the target vector as possible. Only this way can we implement truly effective and efficient integrated vector management programmes that have long lasting results and help keep the 747 Jumbo planes in the air.