Limiting the ability of mosquitoes or other insects to spread disease is one of the core strategies to controlling and eliminating malaria and other vector-borne diseases, such as dengue and lymphatic filariasis, in endemic areas. We take on a range of vector control activities and continuously look for new and innovative ways to prevent vectors from transmitting diseases to humans.
The use of long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) remains one of the most effective methods of preventing malaria and we are focused on ensuring. We focus on ensuring that LLIN coverage is high through both public and private channels, using various approaches and techniques to ensure demand for nets remains strong.
We are developing context-specific models for continuous distribution of LLINs through routine channels such as antenatal care clinics, schools and community-based delivery systems, and through routine immunisation. We also engage the commercial sector to ensure provision via private channels. We are currently carrying out comprehensive efforts at scale in several countries, including Nigeria and Uganda, to achieve both high and sustained impact.
We also work to improve prevention of malaria transmission outside human dwellings (outdoor transmission) by promoting methods to reduce contact with potential vectors. For example, our ‘positive deviance’ behaviour change projects in Asia encourage existing behaviours to prevent malaria and dengue found within communities to be more widely adopted. We also explore alternative methods to reduce outdoor transmission, such as the use of insecticide treated clothing for those who work at night.
Through our Beyond Garki multi-country project we have been engaged in a long-term analysis of changes in vector behaviour as interventions are deployed to reduce malaria transmission intensity. This provides quality and context specific data allowing for the better targeting of effective interventions.
Insecide based vector control
Most vector control strategies are insecticide-based and their expanded use is resulting in growing resistance to all major groups of insecticides. Unfortunately, the results have not been satisfactory but instead, there is increased vector dispersal and, subsequently, the spread of disease epidemics.
More time and effort must be spent in developing spatially focused operational programmes driven by real-time patterns of transmission. These will demand incidence and response recording systems of the kind that have been developed in Australia (Vazquez-Prokopec et al., 2010). Data can then be analysed to test for evidence of the impact of focally applied measures such as targeted indoor residual spraying, a key malaria prevention method for disrupting the malaria lifecycle by targeting mosquitoes that rest indoors after feeding.
Special emphasis should be placed on the integrated management of all available tactics so as to maximize efforts towards effective, locally adapted sustainable vector control. Emphasis on continuous actions and community participation control initiatives are critically important for success.
Based on the above, and the difficulty in eliminating larval breeding sites throughout urban and suburban areas, there is an urgent need for novel, sustainable and environmentally friendly approaches for controlling populations of Aedes mosquitoes. This is something that Malaria Consortium is currently addressing through our operational research activities.