Mali Pilots Innovative "Insectary-in-a-box"

Apr 2013
The team developed an innovative solution to this dilemma - they converted a 40 x 8 foot shipping container into an insectary-in-a-box.
The insectary-in-a-box is a cost-effective and quick solution to carry out entomological monitoring under difficult field conditions. Source: Abt Associates

In March 2012, a coup interrupted PMI-supported IRS activities. As a result, PMI was obliged to continue with the 2012 IRS program without the involvement of government partners. This included entomological monitoring, a crucial activity that assesses whether the sprayed insecticide is killing malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. The PMI-supported partner had less than one month before the IRS campaign to build an insectary where they could rear mosquitoes and test their susceptibility to insecticides. The team developed an innovative solution to this dilemma - they converted a 40 x 8 foot shipping container into an insectary-in-a-box. The container was purchased locally for about $3,500, and was operational in a mere three weeks. Since the insectary was placed in the project's compound in Bamako, there was no need buy land and construct a building, a process that can be both costly and time-consuming.

The insectary is divided into three rooms: one for keeping adult mosquitoes; one for rearing mosquitoes from larvae; and one for completing morphological identification, dissection, and susceptibility testing. The insectary is outfitted with air conditioners and humidifiers to maintain optimal conditions for the mosquitoes.

While the insectary-in-a-box was originally developed in response to a crisis, the insectary can be used for several years. "Months after its establishment, a large number of mosquitoes are reared and maintained in the insectary, which means this is an optimum environment for rearing mosquitoes," said the project’s technical director. Since the insectary-in-a-box is mobile, it could be relocated so that another organization could sustain the insectary after the current project ends.

In countries that do not have an insectary, the insectary-in-a-box model can serve as a quickly implementable, cost-effective solution to carry out entomological monitoring that ultimately results in improved quality of IRS.

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