This week’s Fist Bump Friday goes to VL Ethiopia and VL Burkina Faso as they launched their IRS campaigns during COVID-19.
VL Ethiopia launched the first phase of their IRS campaign on June 2nd in 17 out of 44 districts, while continuing to prepare for the 27 remaining districts to begin on June 23rd. The campaign was postponed by three weeks due to the emergence of COVID-19 cases. The team along with government counterparts and PMI Ethiopia determined that gathering large groups for training was inadvisable while the situation was still so uncertain. With the additional time, the team was able to restructure training and operations to minimize the risk of exposure to workers and beneficiaries.
With this delay came many logistical challenges. The heavy rains started even earlier than expected and made some target areas inaccessible by road. The VectorLink Ethiopia team mobilized their partners and resources to plan a safe, BMP-compliant water crossing to deliver IRS commodities to a very difficult-to-reach district called Akobo, and is monitoring conditions in collaboration with local authorities to gain access to the affected areas when/if the roads become passable.
VL Burkina Faso launched its spray campaign on June 1st in the districts of Kampti and Solenzo. An official launch ceremony took place in both districts and were chaired by the High Commissioners of both provinces. In addition, Representatives from NMCP, Provincial Security Services, Department of Environment, Regional Health, District Health Management Teams, Mass Medias, Mayors and Prefects, were present at the ceremony. The ceremony included opening speeches and physical observation of spray activities in select households. Supervision of spray activities is conducted in the field in by the VL team, Chief Medical Officers, Health Post Nurses, among other district staff. After a successful roll-out in 2019, the Burkina Faso team is again implementing in all districts mobile data collection to collect spray data through the exclusive use of tablets by SOPs at the household level.
Safety measures have been put in place amid COVID-19 and the unstable security situation in Burkina Faso in close coordination with local authorities and security forces with daily check-ins prior to deploying teams to the field. For spray quality assurance, the entomological monitoring team has joined the spray team in both Kampti and Solenzo to conduct cone bioassays.
What a huge accomplishment, VL Ethiopia and VL Burkina Faso! Congrats and good luck with the remainder of your campaigns.