Zambia Establishes ITN Continuous Distribution Task Team

The VectorLink Zambia team is excited to report that Zambia recently set up a Continuous Distribution (CD) Task Team on insecticide treated nets (ITNs) within the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP). Special mention for this Fist Bump goes to VectorLink Zambia’s Senior CD Technical Advisor, Peter Kalenga, and Chief of Party, Dr. Nduka Iwuchukwu, for assisting the NMEP in developing the Terms of Reference and convening the CD Task Team.

The CD Task Team, which reports to the NMEP’s Vector Control Technical Working Group, advises and gives strategic direction for effective implementation of the CD activities. Specific responsibilities include development of annual operational plans, provision of program oversight, and review of progress and performance reports. Additionally, the team will review and update national continuous distribution guidelines, develop and implement plans for school-based distribution campaigns, and identify issues affecting the quality of activities and make recommendations.

The current Chair of the CD Task Team is none other than Dr Oliver Lulembo–the former Senior ITN Technical Advisor for VectorLink Zambia who is now with PMI Zambia.

To VectorLink’s knowledge, this is the first such team to exist in Africa and it is hoped that many more countries will set up similar groups to highlight the importance of CD channels, organize priority CD activities, and increase country-level resources for the implementation of CD activities. Many countries are showing interest in moving away from sequential mass campaigns and focusing more on CD to improve and sustain access to ITNs.

In collaboration with the CD Task Team, VectorLink will support a CD Assessment to understand the existing performance of the routine distribution channels through antenatal clinics for pregnant women, and to children under five through Expanded Program on Immunization clinics. Zambia has also carried out school-based distribution, including a four-district distribution planned for early October, and is considering scaling this up.

Keep up the great work, VectorLink Zambia!

At a global level, the Alliance for Malaria Prevention (AMP) Continuous Distribution Working Group (CDWG) is the go-to resource for all things related to CD. Its key objectives include compiling and sharing operational lessons learned, tools, and guidelines from recent and new CD activities, and responding to country requests for information, documentation and supporting guidelines for CD implementation. In addition, country partners share updates on ITN CD activities happening at a country level on a regular AMP teleconference and dedicated ITN CD calls. The co-chairs of the CDWG are VectorLink’s Senior ITN Technical Advisor, Dr. Jane E. Miller and Mr. Bala Kandeh, NMCP Manager, The Gambia.