Covering All Bases! Niger Puts New ITN Guidelines into Policy and Practice

This week’s Fist Bump goes to VectorLink Niger’s Rose Barnes-Covenant, Daniel Koka and Dr. Elisha Sanoussi for supporting the country’s NMCP in developing national ITN guidelines. The NMCP requested VL Niger’s assistance in assessing the country’s health system services, particularly how ITNs get delivered to pregnant women and children under one. VL Niger and NMCP closely evaluated the distribution of nets, identifying opportunities to improve access through better coordination, planning, and training in the distribution of ITNs. From these guidelines, the NMCP established a new policy in vector control that directs all health center staff to deliver ITNs to pregnant women at their first antenatal care visit and to children under one at their first measles vaccination. This new law will protect the most vulnerable population from malaria and help to reduce the mortality rate among children.

Dr. Ousmane Oumaou, NMCP staff and a member of the technical committee for routine ITN distribution, said, “This (policy) decision has an impact on the population since if all (pregnant) women receive ITNs and use them properly, there should be a decrease in the incidence of the disease in the general population.”

Kudos to VL Niger for making this important policy and directive happen. To keep the momentum going in malaria protection, VL Niger in collaboration with the NMCP is exploring ways to expand ITN distribution outside of antenatal care and immunization visits, helping NMCP to revise its Insecticide Resistance Management plan and working with the NMCP on creating a vector control steering committee for key malaria stakeholders. Go, Team!