Training the Next Generation of Entomologists

Nov 2013
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is working to further the capacity of the NMCP and other malaria partners to ensure they have the ability to collect and analyze insecticide resistance data and to use data to guide IRS programs.
Entomological technicians at the PMI workshop on insecticide resistance facilitated by CDC entomologists, Bill Brogdon and Adeline Chan.

One of the greatest threats to malaria control is insecticide resistance. Resistance is the ability of a mosquito that transmits malaria, or malaria vector, to survive doses of insecticide that would normally kill it. Unless insecticide resistance is carefully monitored, it can render indoor residual spraying (IRS) and other vector control programs ineffective at protecting people from malaria.

In Zimbabwe, the government has been implementing IRS since the 1940s. Protecting 90% of the population from malaria through IRS is a core objective of the government’s 2008-2013 National Malaria Control Programme’s (NMCP) National Strategic Plan.

The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is working to further the capacity of the NMCP and other malaria partners to ensure they have the ability to collect and analyze insecticide resistance data and to use data to guide IRS programs.

Adeline Chan speaking during the PMI insecticide resistance workshop.In June 2013, PMI and the Africa Indoor Residual Spraying project (AIRS) in Zimbabwe organized a series of entomological surveillance trainings at the De Beers Research Laboratory in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) in Harare, Zimbabwe. Sixty-one people from the NMCP, Ministry of Health and Child Care and NIHR, including the national entomology laboratory attended the trainings where they learned how to collect and analyze insecticide resistance data.

“The training was an eye opener on insecticide resistance techniques. The CDC bottle assays and other techniques from the training are easy to use, which will enable us to complete susceptibility and resistance testing locally,” said Caleb Marange, Insectary Manager for Burma Valley, Manicaland, Zimbabwe.

Entomologists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the AIRS Zimbabwe technical director/entomologist, and staff from the NIHR led trainings related to the following topics:

  • Techniques to measure mosquito resistance to insecticides
  • Molecular analysis to identify mosquitoes and insecticide resistance including:
    • Classifying the species of mosquito and identifying insecticide resistance mechanisms in mosquito genes;
    • Determining whether mosquitoes were infected with the malaria parasite;
    • Establishing whether mosquitoes received their blood meal from humans
  • Best practices in managing an insectary, a location for raising mosquitoes for insecticide resistance testing

Participants learned how to collect data and use the data to understand the effectiveness of an IRS program, specifically if mosquitoes are developing resistance to the insecticides being used for IRS and therefore making vector control ineffective. Program implementers can use this data to make informed decisions about which class of insecticide to use.

June 2013 workshop participant.Local scientists will soon have the opportunity to put their new skills to use. In early 2014, insectary managers, NMCP and NIHR staff will participate in an Abt-led nationwide testing of insecticide resistance.

In addition to the training, PMI and AIRS Zimbabwe helped to refurbish a local insectary at the De Beers Laboratory so it could be used to breed a colony of mosquitoes for future insecticide resistance monitoring.

“With the skills our staff developed at the training, we can feel confident that IRS is protecting people from malaria,” Dr. Joseph Mberikunashe, National Malaria Control Programme Manager.




This story was taken from www.africairs.net

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