By Sarah Pickersgill
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
MACEPA’s Elizabeth Chiyende accompanied partners from Akros in Siavonga, Zambia, for indoor residual spraying (IRS) and mSpray activities. The group traveled throughout the district monitoring IRS deployment and mapping out the terrain and structures. Indoor residual spraying is one of our best tools in the fight against malaria and the mSpray team ensures this critical intervention is implemented effectively.
Pictured below: A spray operator just after spraying a home in Kabimbi Matua.
Pictured left: Rachel, a spray operator, explains to a community member the importance of indoor residual spraying and what they need to do before their house can be sprayed.
Bwalya, pictured right, tells MACEPA that he is very happy about the initiation of the IRS program. “I feel responsible because my family is protected because my home has been sprayed” he says.
Zambition in action
This week, Zambia’s National Malaria Elimination Centre (NMEC) essentially relocated to Ndola town, on the Copperbelt in the north, for a four-day national planning workshop. Yes, this country is even zambitious in its planning. All ten provinces were represented and three days were spent walking through each intervention and the associated tasks and activities at national and provincial levels. Outputs, outcomes, timing, and accountable persons were also assigned.
The fourth day focused on how each province will cascade this comprehensive planning to their districts, and from there to facility and community levels. The true test of this process will come when kwacha is allocated and available, and things move forward on the ground.
Partners enjoying the Savoy Hotel conference facilities included ALMA, the Elimination 8, the Global Fund, USAID/PMI/CDC, and WHO. Oh, and PATH-MACEPA—a huge shout out to our JJ Banda for working with the NMEC to bring this planning effort to life, and for patiently guiding the provinces at each step.
“Don’t think of the mountain,” advised James Chipeta of the University of Zambia School of Medicine’s dean’s office and chair of the Case Management Technical Working Group in his closing remarks. “Take it one step at a time. Then we will reach the summit together and achieve elimination.”
In the news
Wednesday marked the launch of the campaign #MalariaMustDie. The campaign video features David Beckham standing in a glass box surrounded by a swarm of 10,000 mosquitoes. Beckham urges Commonwealth leaders to take action when they meet for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April by stating “Malaria must die so millions can live.” (Daily Mail, Devex)
US efforts to prevent global disease outbreaks may get cut by 80 percent as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they are downsizing their epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries. The $600 million one-time, five-year emergency package for the Ebola outbreak is slated to run out by September 2019 and officials are not anticipating that the Trump administration will budget additional resources. (Washington Post)
Programs like the global surveillance program, which were created and funded under the five-year Ebola package, are now also in jeopardy. With the risk of a global pandemic ever-present, many experts are lobbying Congress and the Trump administration to ensure continued funding for disease surveillance and prevention. (Business Insider)
Diseases know no national borders, and malaria is no exception. Last Monday, a memorandum of collaboration was signed in Lusaka, between the health ministries of Angola and Zambia. The collaboration involves the exchange of epidemiological information at the common border regions and joint sensitization work to raise health awareness. (ReliefWeb)
Three publications in The Lancet this week bring the topic of malaria in pregnancy up to date. The three-part series focuses on new developments in the burden, prevention, and treatment of malaria in pregnancy.
Last week, Heineken announced that they will be partnering with the Global Fund, lending their expertise in supply chain management to support healthcare delivery efforts in countries in Africa where the company is present. However, a group of African health advocacy organizations have signed a protest letter, pointing out their concerns with engaging producers and marketers of alcohol. (Africa Times)
Last week at the 30th African Union summit in Addis Ababa, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) announced they will now be tracking the progress against neglected tropical diseases on their scorecard. “Malaria and NTDs both lay their heaviest burden on the poor, rural, and marginalized. They also share solutions, from vector control to community-based treatment,” said Joy Phumaphi, ALMA’s executive secretary. (Outbreak News)
A study in PLOS Journal published this week examines some of the environmental and health-related challenges associated with the distribution and use of insecticide-treated bednets. The study focuses on the prevalence and nature of malaria net misuse, especially related to fishing.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is bringing on Philip Welkhoff of the Institute for Disease Modeling as its new malaria program director. Welkhoff’s expertise in advanced informatics and mathematical modeling are forecasted to help the Foundation and its partners accelerate progress toward elimination. “If we don’t have modeling, we won’t really understand how you get to zero,” Gates told Devex.