This year, the PMI VectorLink Project celebrates World Malaria Day by recognizing the many spray operators who defend their communities from the threat of malaria. Since 2006 the President’s Malaria Initiative has protected millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa from malaria through Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS). Our spray operators go household to household to spray insecticide on walls and ceilings – targeting mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite. The PMI VectorLink Project helps build the capacity of communities to deploy vector control tools like IRS, but without the commitment of our health workers and spray operators, the fight against malaria would be hard lost. We would like to recognize and thank the thousands of malaria fighters who suit up and spray to end malaria.
One such malaria fighter is very special to us. Meet Nidio Macie, a former IRS spray operator who rose in rank to become a district coordinator in Mozambique’s Milange District in Zambezia Province. As a young boy, Nidio dreamed of being a soldier in the military. He wanted to save lives and protect his country from threat. Each morning he would stand in awe as he watched his aunt gear up and head out to the field with her fellow spray operators to ward off the mosquitoes that had been ravaging his community with death and disease.
“Whenever I saw the spray operators, I used to follow them out to their work bases and watch them mix insecticide and load it into their spray pumps. I loved seeing them suited up in their protective overalls – they looked like soldiers to me.”
Watching the spray operators in action motivated Nidio to join the PMI VectorLink Project to fight against malaria. In 2017, PMI protected 1.7 million people in Mozambique from this deadly disease with IRS thanks to malaria fighters like Nidio.
To this day, Nidio’s childhood memories motivates him to serve and protect his community. “There is a motto we use here,” he says, “KILL MOSQUITO, SAVE THE PEOPLE! I go out and I save lives.”