Urban Action lowers malaria risk

May 9, 2015

In Malindi on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, ICIPE and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) scientists are joining hands with community groups in malaria control activities to lower the toll of malaria. Nineteen community groups or 56% of the town’s total groups are involved in mosquito control activities such as treating ditches, making and selling insecticide-treated mosquito nets, draining stagnant water, organising clean-ups and making and selling neem soap. The groups have also been active in the organisation of campaigns such as the ‘Malaria Mosquito Day’. Major challenges facing the volunteer groups include lack of resources such as tools, technical advice and supervision, and maintaining control activities with minimal funds. A model training programme has been designed with the aim of enhancing the knowledge and skills necessary for malaria and mosquito control. This includes training of trainers (TOTs), Mosquito Control Action Groups and mosquito scouts. Mosquito scouts are key individuals from the groups who assist in carrying out mosquito larval habitat surveillance. The training has helped the community groups in making informed decisions on activities for reducing malaria vector breeding. The latter is important to contain the window of infection between the time people protect themselves under ITNs and the early evening and early morning hours when they are awake. Past research by ICIPE in Kilifi on the coast shows that about 20% of infections arise at this time. More recent indications from Tanzanian studies (not done by ICIPE) are that mosquitoes are changing their behaviour and biting during this time to avoid the ITN barrier (see Braimah et al., International Journal of Tropical Insect Science, vol. 25(3), 208–213).

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