VectorLink Zambia Conducts Virtual IRS Microplanning Meetings

This week’s Fist Bump goes out to VL Zambia for their forward thinking in the time of COVID. Because IRS requires long lead times of planning to be successful, VL Zambia needed to ensure that microplanning at the district level was not interrupted by COVID restrictions. PMI VL engages IRS-supported districts in microplanning meetings to develop district specific activity-based plans to confirm the areas and numbers of eligible structures to be sprayed, and secure the human and material resources required for the campaign. During the microplanning meeting, the spray calendars are also reviewed and finalized. The meeting enables the project to meet and strategize with the Provincial and District Health Promotion Officers responsible for ensuring that communities are adequately sensitized and mobilized to accept the spray activities.

In 2021, the timing of the microplanning meetings coincided with the third wave of COVID-19 in the country. Consequently, meeting in person as practiced in previous years could not happen. Working with NMEP, provincial and district authorities, VectorLink Zambia along with the NMEP, Provincial and districts health authorities decided to hold the planning meetings virtually. The challenge was to ensure all participants could connect to reliable internet for the duration of the meeting from their locations in 21 districts across three provinces.

To ensure everyone’s engagement, VectorLink purchased internet bundles for all the participants. The microplanning meetings and the Health Promotion Officers’ Orientation took place simultaneously in each of the three provinces (Copperbelt, Eastern, and Luapula) on three separate dates. The virtual meetings were conducted through a combination of on-screen presentations and break-out sessions. Towards the end of each day the Health Promotion Officers segment joined the larger microplanning meeting and presented their resolutions, which were then further discussed, agreed upon by all stakeholders and integrated into the overall microplan for each district. The meetings were attended by the NMEP, provincial and district health authorities, and the VectorLink project.

Following the conclusion of the microplanning meetings, VL Zambia and malaria partners have commenced the countdown to the 2021 IRS campaign despite the Covid-19 situation.

Congratulations, VL Zambia for thinking outside the box and keeping everyone connected and on schedule.