Kudos to VL Senegal for completing their first IRS campaign under the PMI VectorLink Project! To implement IRS for 2020, VectorLink Senegal expanded the team, hiring over 10 new fulltime team members in the few months before the campaign. Senegal sprayed in four districts (Kedougou, Maka Coulibantan, Kougheul and Koumpentoum) in 2020. In the photo to the right, you can see villagers building a bridge to ensure SOPs can cross by car to spray their village. While villagers are often enthusiastic for IRS, it’s not always the case in urban areas. Two of the districts VL sprayed (Kedougou and Maka Coulibantan) had never received IRS previously. Kedougou posed a unique challenge due to its large urban center. Urban centers can be difficult to gain acceptance for IRS, and structures are much larger, taking additional resources to complete spraying. VL Senegal worked closely with religious leaders to improve acceptance.
As the first IRS campaign under VectorLink, the Senegal team had to set-up operations sites, establish relationships with local authorities, develop an M&E system (which included a new mobile data collection system, training team members on VectorLink Collect, and recruiting new seasonal staff to support spray). VL Senegal did this with a team made up of largely new team members and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which required extensive time, human and material resources from the Senegal team to mitigate risk of transmission of the virus. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow for planned in-person support from the home office technical team. While support was provided remotely, VL Senegal had to implement the campaign without those additional hands.
Despite all these challenges, Senegal exceeded all targets with a spray coverage of 98.9% and spray progress of over 85%. Congratulations to the VL Senegal team for working through all these challenges to complete a successful IRS campaign!