Maintaining Malaria Prevention in the Face of COVID-19

While the global community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic brought on by the novel coronavirus, the vector control community continues its commitment to fighting malaria. Although this pandemic may have changed the way that we live and work, our commitment to saving lives remains as strong as ever.

With support from the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the PMI VectorLink Project continues to deploy life-saving interventions, like insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS), to help reduce the overall strain on health systems by keeping the most vulnerable people malaria-free. Working in close collaboration with country governments, national malaria control programs, and ministries of health, we have been able to adapt our programming to adhere to social distancing guidelines and country-specific practices to continue to reduce the burden of malaria.

While in the field and during campaign launches, we encourage all staff and partners to use face coverings where social distancing is not possible. Zanzibar MRC coordinator and ZAMEP deputy Program Manager during the ITN campaign Launch in Zanzibar.
During our most recent ITN campaign in Zanzibar, we made sure to include hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks with each ITN registration booklet before they were passed out to beneficiaries.
Here we see one of our team members splitting the ITN bales into pieces to allocate among the volunteers to then pass on to beneficiaries. In this campaign alone, we’ve protected over 400,000 people in Zanzibar by providing ITNs.
Hand washing stations like the one pictured here have been introduced at all campaign sites to encourage handwashing among staff whenever possible. Master Training Session in Gambela, Ethiopia.
Where virtual training is not possible, we utilize large rooms and empty classrooms to host in-person training sessions. We make sure that participants are wearing masks and are spaced at least 2 meters apart. Training of Trainers in Gambela, Ethiopia.
Live-action training for spray operators is essential for successful and efficient IRS campaigns. To ensure that operators are well equipped to carry out IRS, we’ve modified or training sessions by reducing the number of operators trained at once. This limits the number of people in one room at once and allows us to maintain appropriate social distance. Gambela, Ethiopia.
At the start of each day during a spray campaign, our field teams conduct morning mobilizations to ensure that spray operators, team leaders, and supervisors are ready for the day ahead. Along with encouraging words to kick start the day, our teams are also reminding to maintain social distance, wear all personal protective equipment at all times, and to wash hands whenever possible. Burkina, Faso.