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PMI AIRS' Precautions Prevent Environmental Damage, Ensure Effective Spray Campaigns

impact An Abt Global-led project in Africa is helping the government of Ethiopia dispose of excess insecticide.
The President's Malaria Initiative Africa Indoor Residual Spraying project (PMI AIRS) protects millions of people in Africa from malaria by spraying insecticide on the walls, ceilings, and other indoor resting places of mosquitoes that transmit malaria, a process known as indoor residual spraying (IRS).

But there is much more to reducing malaria transmission than spraying insecticide on walls. Preventing environmental contamination is a key part of PMI AIRS’ mission. Below are two stories.

Preventing Environmental Accidents in Ethiopia

Mr. Samir Awol (left) a Public Health Officer and Zonal Malaria Focal Person in Ethiopia, provides guidance to DDT collection technicians during a practical training session at a district store.
Mr. Samir Awol (left) a Public Health Officer and Zonal Malaria Focal Person in Ethiopia, provides guidance to DDT collection technicians during a practical training session at a district store.
Photo credit: AIRS Ethiopia For the past six decades, the government of Ethiopia has used a variety of insecticides for indoor residual spraying (IRS), including DDT, malathion, deltamethrin, bendiocarb, and propoxur. Gradually, the country has accumulated large stocks of expired insecticides due to both inadequate forecasting of insecticide needs and malaria vectors’ growing resistance to the insecticides.

The country is storing approximately 1,600 tons of obsolete DDT across the country, posing public health and environmental risks. To reduce risk of toxic exposure, PMI AIRS is helping to dispose of 85 tons of DDT and associated contaminated wastes from 47 districts and zonal stores in Ethiopia’s Oromia region in an environmentally sound manner.

The PMI AIRS Project has trained 57 supervisors and 40 technicians to facilitate the collection and repacking of the insecticide. The supervisors were either environmental health officers or malaria focal persons at the district and zonal level. The training covered health and environmental safety and proper handling of hazardous materials during repackaging, cleaning of the storage facilities, and transportation of the expired chemicals.

Continue reading about the insecticide disposal in Ethiopia on the PMI AIRS web site.

Read a Q&A with Zaqueu F.B. Chicuate, Environmental Director for Mozambique’s Ministry of Environment in Zambezia Province, about strengthening their environmental compliance efforts regarding indoor residual spraying.
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