Bridging Logistical Gaps in Entomological Surveillance in Nigeria

Aug 2017

"The new vehicular arrangement between AIRS Nigeria and the State Ministry of Health has brought about better cooperation of the host communities with our surveillance team, reduced the transit time to the sentinel sites and improved the quality of work being carried out at the Bauchi State sentinel site.”
– Auwal Barde, Principal Investigator Bauchi State Sentinel Site

An entomology technician at the Oyo State sentinel site prepares for the nightly mosquito catch using a CDC Light Trap. Photo credit: Okeke Ifeanyi Joseph

PMI AIRS Partners with State Ministries of Health in Nigeria

Entomological surveillance is an important and essential aspect of malaria vector control as it provides information on mosquito vector species, their distribution, density, bionomics and susceptibility/resistance to insecticides used for malaria control. In Nigeria, entomological surveillance is currently being carried out by the PMI AIRS Project in six locations designated as sentinel sites across five ecological zones of the country. Located in rural communities, the sentinel sites were selected based on their high malaria burden. Roads leading to these sentinel sites are often difficult to navigate during the rains when surveillance activities are at their peak. For this reason, vehicles such as trucks and SUVs are required to access these communities.

There are high costs and logistical challenges associated with renting vehicles and drivers to support entomological monitoring activities for the project. Furthermore, many of the communities perceived the unknown vehicles as a threat, creating a security threat for the drivers and project staff as well as increased difficulty in receiving the communities’ cooperation in accessing the site.

In January 2017, the PMI AIRS Project proposed a cost-sharing mechanism with the various State Ministries of Health to reduce the logistical costs during surveillance activities. As a result, State Ministries of Health provided the project with specially equipped Hilux vans and drivers, while the PMI AIRS Project provided the fuel and a small stipend for the drivers.

In addition to easing the burden of transporting both equipment and personnel through the difficult terrains leading to the sentinel sites, there has been a 50 percent reduction in transportation costs. Furthermore, the vehicles are branded with the logos of the State Ministries of Health, thus, allaying the fears of the communities regarding the purpose of the surveillance teams, and consequently ensuring better cooperation with the teams. The drivers are familiar with the terrains in these communities, further reducing the downtime in accessing the communities as well as helping to ensure the safety of the surveillance teams in transit to the sentinel sites. This collaboration has greatly improved ownership and prospects of sustainability of the PMI-funded malaria vector surveillance activities in the various ecological zones of the country. The PMI AIRS Project is exploring other areas of cooperation with State Ministries to ensure a sustained scale-up of malaria vector surveillance.

Professor Jesse Uneke, Principal Investigator of Ebonyi State sentinel site, said, “The PMI AIRS Project has by no small measure improved the prospects of combating malaria in Ebonyi State by instituting measures that would ensure the ownership and sustainability of malaria entomological surveillance by the state government.”

This story was taken from www.africairs.net

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