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Malaria Day 2017: Details Matter When Hunting Mosquitoes


Sometimes, the difference is in the details.

The effectiveness of indoor residual spraying (IRS) to prevent malaria transmission, for example, hinges on the proper spraying of indoor walls and ceilings where the majority of mosquitoes rest.

Abt Global joins the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and others on World Malaria Day 2017, observed on April 25, in redoubling efforts to end malaria for good. Abt remains focused on carrying out the most efficient, most effective malaria reduction campaigns possible.

A PMI AIRS spray operator removes wall hanging furniture from a home in Madagascar before carrying out indoor residual spraying (IRS). Properly clearing obstacles from homes helps ensure that spraying will be effective. Photo: Eugene Kiti, Abt Global
A PMI AIRS spray operator removes wall hanging furniture from a home in Madagascar before carrying out indoor residual spraying (IRS). Properly clearing obstacles from homes helps ensure that spraying will be effective.
Photo: Eugene Kiti, Abt Global

Better Training Leads to More Effective Spraying

Traditionally, the President’s Malaria Initiative Africa Indoor Residual Spaying (PMI AIRS) Project – and other IRS programs – uses outdoor walls to train spray operators to use their equipment.

But this hasn’t allowed spray operators to master all of the important skills they need for their work, which mostly happens inside homes. Typical challenges include working around obstacles, spraying in dark and confined spaces, spraying ceilings, correctly capturing data after spraying, and more.

The PMI AIRS Project, in response, has begun allotting at least one day of the standard five-day spray operator training to be conducted inside homes. Spray operators do not use water or other liquids during indoor training, but still will be coached on correct spray techniques and how to deal with the many scenarios they encounter.

“This training is ensuring that – no matter the conditions – spray operators are doing the most effective spraying possible,” said Allan Were, director of operations for the project and a principal associate at Abt. “This further reduces the chance that mosquitoes will survive and spread malaria.”

This is the latest example of the project’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovations. Previously, the project had been recognized for its innovations in bottle recyclinginsecticide inventory systems, and mobile soak pits, among others.

Working with the Private Sector in Uganda

Ending malaria for good – the theme of World Malaria Day 2017 – requires long-term, sustainable engagement of multiple sectors and partners.

Dr. Kassahun Belay, PMI Resident Advisor (in the background) urges private pest control representatives to join hands to work together in fighting malaria during a training session on public-private partnerships. Photo: Melinda Ojermark, Abt Global
Dr. Kassahun Belay, PMI Resident Advisor (in the background) urges private pest control representatives to join hands to work together in fighting malaria during a training session on public-private partnerships.
Photo: Melinda Ojermark, Abt Global

The USAID/PMI and UKAid-funded Uganda Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) Project, led by Abt, reaches beyond its government partnership in 14 target districts to also work with private pest control companies country-wide. Since 2011, the project has provided courses and monitoring support for more than 30 private companies conducting IRS. The courses create an opportunity for dialogue and a catalyst for these private companies to consider mutual concerns and responsibilities for their business.

These private pest control businesses independently founded the Uganda Pest Control Association (UPCA), dedicated to ensuring the quality and safety of their services, including IRS. Members of the UPCA are now conducting IRS training on their own for their membership.

The Uganda IRS project has assisted UPCA to develop IRS quality standards for private companies. To create a permanent basis for IRS best practices, UPCA is working with government officials to advocate for regulation of the private pest control sector. This growing organization and ensuing public/private partnership will contribute to long-term sustainable malaria control in Uganda.

“The IRS training was an eye-opener,” said Chris Kaweesa, director of Dag and Bragan Pest Control Services in Kampala. “Before the training we provided mosquito control, but now I’m offering my clients malaria control.”

Read more about Abt’s work in malaria: