This week’s Fist Bump goes out to VL Sierra Leone and COP Dr. Evelyn Alyko for successfully completing a 4-day training on entomological monitoring during COVID-19. Dr. Alyko led the training for the new VectorLink insectary staff, and field and seasonal technicians, following social distancing guidelines and PPE requirements.
The training provided instructions on mosquito collection, identification, dissection, susceptibility tests, cone bioassays, and use of the updated VectorLink data collection tools. The training, which was delivered both in the classroom and in the field for practical experience, served multiple purposes. It was a refresher for current VectorLink and seasonal staff; it helped expand the pool of people trained in entomological monitoring techniques from which the project can draw on both a short and long-term basis, and finally, the training facilitated the team’s identification of candidates for two permanent staff positions that will begin working in August.
In Year 3, VectorLink Sierra Leone will almost double its entomological monitoring from four to seven districts (adding Port Loko, Moyamba, and Karene districts). In addition to the routine entomological monitoring, VectorLink Sierra Leone will support two important assessments: (1) Durability monitoring of PBO nets that were distributed in May and June 2020; and (2) collection of baseline data for evaluating the impact PBO net and IRS co-deployment versus PBO nets only. The results of these assessments will provide information essential to the NMCP’s decision-making about future vector control programs and for PMI’s plans for vector control intervention beyond Sierra Leone.
Congratulations, VL Sierra Leone in moving forward with entomological activities during COVID-19!