Earlier this year, Côte d’Ivoire was set to undertake its first-ever, large-scale IRS campaign to compliment the country’s existing ITN distribution program. Unfortunately, due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, all health activities were paused. But per WHO, PMI/USAID, NMCP, and the National Vector Control Steering Committee guidance, malaria prevention activities were authorized to continue, deeming them essential in helping to lessen the compounded effects that malaria and COVID would have on communities. Côte d’Ivoire’s campaign was initially intended to be in two phases, with a campaign in Sakassou in April and Nassian district in June. In order to mitigate the risk of spreading or contracting the coronavirus, the team decided to condense the campaign into a single, simultaneous campaign in the two targeted Districts instead of spraying one district at a time. But, with only the same amount of spray operators available, it seemed impossible to cover such a large-scale campaign in this way – after all, SOPs cannot be in two places at once! Coupled with the suspension of all STTA support due to travel restrictions, the team needed an innovative solution to the challenges they were up against.
With this being the country’s first IRS campaign, the Côte d’Ivoire team was determined to make it a success despite the numerous hurdles they faced. To maximize human resources and address campaign needs, the team established an internal capacity-building strategy for all VL staff members on the team. The team trained the technical staff on the specifics of IRS implementation procedures, preparing them to maintain, lead, supervise, and coordinate the operational sites in Sakassou and Nassian. Recognizing that the campaign would need all the human resource support it could get, the team even trained the drivers, office assistants, finance, and administrative staff on some of the technical aspects of the campaign for additional support! As an added bonus, all training was conducted virtually via WebEx, WhatsApp, and recorded training video demonstrations.
In Nassian Health District, Mr. Koffi Ange (Office Assistant/Janitor) and Mr. Grebe Abreham (Driver) were trained as supervisors of Sominassé and Banvayo operational sites. During the 30-day campaign, they led and coordinated all IRS activities including morning mobilization, vehicle and bike coordination, spraying supervision, warehouse store management, waste management, data collection, end-of-day activities, and community mobilization. Sominassé and Banvayo exceeded their spray coverage goals with 102.7 % and 99.4% coverage respectfully, while Mr. Abraham and Mr. Koffi were respectively ranked 2nd and 3rd for best spray coverage among all the operational sites of the Nassian Health District. As a result of their leadership, the teams sprayed a total of 6,739 structures, protecting 10,762 people (1,817 children under 5 years old and 264 pregnant women) from malaria.
Way to go team Cote d’Ivoire for your cohesive and strategic approach, and congratulations to Abreham and Ange for your accomplishments!