PMI VectorLink Nigeria training principal investigators and entomology technicians on how to operate the Prokopac aspirator to collect adult Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes.

Strengthening Local Capacity for the Surveillance of Anopheles stephensi in Nigeria

Dr. Auwal Al-Hassan looking at the structure of an Anopheles stephensi mosquito through a microscope in Ethiopia.
Dr. Auwal Al-Hassan looking at the structure of an Anopheles stephensi mosquito through a microscope in Ethiopia. Photo credit: Dr. Lazarus Samdi, vector monitoring specialist for PMI VectorLink Nigeria.

Dr. Auwal Al-Hassan, a professor and entomologist at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Nigeria, spends his days teaching and researching insects that transmit disease and how to control them. His latest area of research focuses on the invasive malaria-transmitting mosquito Anopheles stephensi. To better understand and address the threat that this mosquito could bring to Nigeria, Dr. Al-Hassan attended trainings supported by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink Project.

“This mosquito has the potential to impede the progress already made in the fight against malaria due to its resistance to commonly used insecticides and its varying behavior compared to other mosquitoes we see here,” says Dr. Al-Hassan.

Anopheles stephensi was first detected in Biliri Local Government Area, Gombe State, Nigeria in 2020, by researchers at Gombe State University working in collaboration with the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research and the National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP). It is widely recognized as an effective vector of malaria, particularly in urban and semi-urban areas, and its presence in Nigeria is a major concern for malaria control efforts in the country, which already accounts for over a quarter of the global malaria cases.

Where Nigeria is and where Gombe state is.

The PMI VectorLink Nigeria team is supporting the NMEP to strengthen its capacity to monitor the potential spread of this invasive mosquito species. In November 2022, the project successfully trained seven principal investigators and 14 entomology technicians selected from universities and research institutes across seven at-risk states in the country, including Dr. Al-Hassan, to strengthen their expertise in surveillance and identification of An. stephensi.

The training covered the preferred habitats of An. stephensi, which is key to detecting and understanding how to control its spread. “Adults prefer urban environments while larvae are commonly found to exploit several larval habitat types including human-made water containers such as plastic tanks, cisterns, discarded tires and plastic containers,” shared Dr. Al-Hassan.    

PMI VectorLink Nigeria training principal investigators and entomology technicians on how to operate the Prokopac aspirator to collect adult Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes.
PMI VectorLink Nigeria training principal investigators and entomology technicians on how to operate the Prokopac aspirator to collect adult Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. Photo credit: Ifeanyi Okeke, monitoring, evaluation, and learning specialist, PMI VectorLink Nigeria.

PMI VectorLink Ethiopia Technical Manager Dr. Meshesha Balkew, who has been involved in An. stephensi surveillance and control efforts in Ethiopia, participated virtually in this training and shared best practices with the participants on identifying the breeding and resting sites of this species as well as how to identify adult An. stephensi mosquitoes.

Dr. Balkew shows Dr Al-Hassan and others the procedures for treating a water holding container with larvicide.
Dr. Balkew shows Dr Al-Hassan and others the procedures for treating a water holding container with larvicide. Photo credit: Dr. Lazarus Samdi, vector monitoring specialist for PMI VectorLink Nigeria.

A few weeks later, Dr. Al-Hassan traveled to Ethiopia to learn more from Dr. Balkew and the PMI VectorLink Ethiopia team about their experience with An. stephensi. This training reinforced what he learned in Nigeria, but also delved into one of the main control strategies for An. stephensi: larval source management (LSM).

“For the control of [this mosquito], larval stages are targeted mostly. This is because the preferred habitats for the adults are difficult to locate and [they] seem to have resistance to multiple insecticide classes, posing potential challenges to its control,” shared Dr. Al-Hassan. Therefore, LSM—where a chemical, called a larvicide, is applied to water in containers in order to kill the mosquito in its immature   stage—has the potential to help control An. stephensi and mitigate disease impacts.

With a well-trained team now in place, the next step is to intensify surveillance and identification of An. stephensi throughout the country. Ultimately, Nigeria’s NMEP will decide what approach it will use to combat An. stephensi, but data collected by researchers like Dr. Al-Hassan is key to informing that approach. As he says, “Data collected will help [the NMEP] use resources optimally, prioritizing key activities in order to achieve effective and sustainable control of An. stephensi in our environments.” 

Malaria Research Laboratory Manager Charmaine Matimba preparing a PCR mastermix for An. gambiae s.l. mosquito species identification.

Women Leading: Malaria Control at Africa University

Xuxa Gara and Charmaine Matimba have always been committed to improving health outcomes in Zimbabwe but did not originally plan to work with malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Thanks to the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink project’s capacity strengthening efforts—including the opening of the Malaria Research and Reference Insectary at Africa University (AU), a state-of-the-art insectary and research space—these women have become some of Zimbabwe’s toughest malaria fighters: Xuxa as the insectary manager and Charmaine as the laboratory manager.

Xuxa works with her team to maintain an Anopheles arabiensis mosquito reference colony by managing optimal conditions for mosquito production in the insectary. “A drop in the ambient temperatures in the insectary can have a huge impact on productivity and eventually determine the number of mosquitoes that can be provided to our partners. This requires the insectary team to always be attentive and sensitive to the needs of the insectary,” Xuxa says.

The mosquitoes are provided to the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and partners to test the quality of malaria vector control interventions—indoor residual spraying (IRS) and insecticide-treated nets (ITNs)—and inform their decision-making on the most appropriate malaria control method. The construction of the insectary means they can use lab reared mosquitoes that are known to be susceptible to the insecticides used for vector control interventions and do not need to rely on wild-caught mosquitoes.

VectorLink Zimbabwe has provided Xuxa with training and mentoring on insectary management so she can effectively run the insectary. “It was always my ambition to work in health and as a scientist,” says Xuxa. “It’s interesting being able to generate so much informative data from just a single mosquito caught in the field.”

Insectary Manager Xuxa Gara washing the ELISA plate during Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite (CSP) detection in mosquitoes.
Insectary Manager Xuxa Gara washing the ELISA plate during Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite (CSP) detection in mosquitoes. Photo credit: Wesley Kuture, design and content development assistant at AU.

Xuxa and her team are responsible for raising mosquitoes while Charmaine leads efforts in the laboratory. The analyses conducted by Charmaine and her team include mosquito species identification, insecticide resistance testing, and determining the malaria parasite infection rate. The information gathered from these analyses helps answer some key questions such as where are the gaps in protection, which mosquitoes are transmitting the parasite, why some insecticides no longer work, and where are people being bitten?

For Charmaine, what inspires her most is the zeal to answer these questions. “I had little knowledge of malaria when I first started working at AU on the Zimbabwe Entomology Support in Malaria Programme (ZENTO) Project, also funded by PMI. The interest grew as I was doing the work and I saw that there were so many questions to be answered. I believe that some of the answers will come out from the work I am doing here at the AU molecular laboratory through analyzing the mosquitoes that are collected in malaria endemic areas in Zimbabwe,” she shares. THE PMI ZENTO Project conducts continuous entomological surveillance in Nyanga and Mutasa districts as well as Mutare City, all in Manicaland Province. VectorLink Zimbabwe currently conducts much of the mosquito surveillance in Zimbabwe, which PMI ZENTO is set to take over with the closing of the PMI VectorLink Project.

Malaria Research Laboratory Manager Charmaine Matimba preparing a PCR mastermix for An. gambiae s.l. mosquito species identification.
Malaria Research Laboratory Manager Charmaine Matimba preparing a PCR mastermix for An. gambiae s.l. mosquito species identification. Photo Credit: Wesley Kuture, design and content development assistant at AU.

PMI Zimbabwe, through VectorLink Zimbabwe and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, works with the AU laboratory to strengthen capacity and provides technical and management support and oversight to entomological activities in the country. Efforts included procurement of new laboratory equipment and supplies, on-site training, and regular mentoring by the VectorLink Zimbabwe team. In 2022, VectorLink Zimbabwe Technical Manager Dr. Hieronymo Masendu led a training on insecticide resistance testing using CDC and WHO techniques, which enabled AU staff to complete the procedure on their own, with guidance. Shortly after, Charmaine attended a regional entomology training hosted by the global PMI VectorLink Project in Dakar, Senegal.

“The trainings enhanced my knowledge in field work and surveillance that is done in order to answer specific questions and generate data that is meaningful and useful in vector control implementation,” says Charmaine.

“I now have the capacity to test an insecticide to measure its effectiveness in combating the malaria vector,” adds Xuxa, a skill that many AU staff did not previously have.

Charmaine Matimba receiving a certificate of achievement from PMI VectorLink Technical Director Dr. Matthew Kirby in Dakar, Senegal.
Charmaine Matimba receiving a certificate of achievement from PMI VectorLink Technical Director Dr. Matthew Kirby in Dakar, Senegal. Photo credit: Stephen Kantum, senior research officer at Navrongo Health Research Center in Ghana.

Bolstering the skills of scientists like Xuxa and Charmaine is critical to increasing Zimbabwe’s capacity to implement vital testing to ensure the NMCP is using the most effective vector control interventions to combat malaria. Through the establishment of the insectary, and the support of projects like PMI VectorLink and PMI ZENTO, AU is establishing excellence in malaria research in Zimbabwe, enabling the growth of malaria fighters like Xuxa and Charmaine.

Research and monitoring are so important to understanding mosquitoes and figuring out how to prevent them from spreading malaria. “Working in research allows me to be the first to identify something new and be able to tell the whole world a story about it,” says Xuxa. “My hope is that mosquitoes will one day not be referred to as a vector of malaria but rather a mere nuisance insect.”

Learning from Mosquitoes: Collaborating with Research Institutions in Côte d’Ivoire

Research on mosquitoes helps countries make better decisions about how to prevent and control malaria. The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative partners with Côte d’Ivoire’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to support research institutes that are studying mosquito behavior. As mosquitoes continue to develop resistance to some insecticides, scientists must stay one step ahead to ensure the right vector control measures are in place to protect people from malaria.

In this video, we hear from Yolande Niangara, one of many scientists whose study of mosquito behavior is leading to better malaria control strategies in Côte d’Ivoire. In her role with the country’s NMCP, Yolande works with the National Institute of Public Hygiene and the Swiss Center for Scientific Research, two of the four local research institutions that partner with PMI VectorLink. We also meet two of the leading researchers at those institutes, who talk about how they are contributing to Côte d’Ivoire’s progress in the fight against malaria. 

The French version of this video is available on PMI’s YouTube Channel.

RBM Partnership to End Malaria 18th Annual Meeting of the Vector Control Working Group

February 6-8, 2023  

The RBM Partnership To End Malaria Vector Control Working Group Annual Meeting convenes the global malaria vector control community to exchange best practices and relevant research for current and future malaria vector control operations. This year’s event is taking place at the Moevenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, Ghana. 

PMI VectorLink’s Senior Entomologist/Regional Technical Advisor Sheila Ogoma is a co-chair of RBM VCWG’s “Expanding the Vector Control Toolbox” work stream. In addition, PMI VectorLink will be participating through the following oral and poster presentations. The full agenda can be found here: 

Oral Presentations:

Monday, February 6

Physical and insecticidal durability of new ITNs in four sub-Saharan African Countries; 2:40 pm GMT

Presenter: Keith Esch, PMI VectorLink

Policy, People and Resources: Why some countries have scaled up with School-based distribution, others have not, and subsequent recommendations; 4:15 pm GMT

PresenterKetty Ndhlovu, Zambian National Malaria Elimination Programme 

Tuesday, February 7

Assessing entomological impact of a pilot larval source management using aerial spraying with drones in two districts in Madagascar; 11:20 am GMT

PresenterJoseph Chabi, PMI VectorLink 

Applying a standardized, molecular entomology data labeling system in Ghana to effectively integrate into central DHIS2 database; 3:05 pm GMT

PresenterEdem Obum, PMI VectorLink 

Poster Presentations:

Monday through Wednesday, during lunch break (12:30 – 2:00 pm) and afternoon break (4:00 – 4:30 pm)

Experiences and Lessons Learned from Introducing Klypson and 2GARD in Zambia and Madagascar

Locally Led Community Mobilization at Scale for IRS in Uganda’s Eastern Region

Reflecting Back on Implementation of Facility-Based ITN Distribution in Ghana Using 7 years of DHIS2 Data 

Different Approaches to Measure the Quality of Facility-Based ITN Distribution 

Implementation of Larval Source Management to Control Anopheles stephensi in Ethiopia 

Strengthening Systems for Improved Vector Control Data Management and Use 

Talibés sleeping under an ITN at a Daara in Medine health post in Tivaouane.

Reaching Talibé Children with Mosquito Nets

Despite progress in scaling up malaria control interventions, children in Sub-Saharan Africa are still largely impacted by the disease. Gaps in the distribution of mosquito nets are a contributing factor to children’s vulnerability. In Senegal, among the groups often unreached by formal distribution channels are youth living in religious schools that teach the Koran.

Students who attend these schools, called daaras, are usually boys ages 7 to 15 who are known as talibé children. Many come from families mostly in rural areas. According to Dr. Amdy Thiam, vector control lead for Senegal’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), the number of daaras and the talibé children that live in them are not well documented. In 2022, to fill in the knowledge gap, the NMCP, through trained community members, launched a census among religious and education leaders in the Thies region, where many of these schools are located, to determine the number of children living in daaras.

A child learning the Koran in a daara in Méouane health post in Tivaouane.
A child learning the Koran in a daara in Méouane health post in Tivaouane. Photo Credit: Louis Dasylva, photographer

Although talibé children are eligible to receive insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) during the mass distributions that are conducted every three years in Senegal, the 2022 mass campaign excluded the Thies region due to limited government resources. These children are not eligible to access ITNs through other means such as routine distribution at health facilities that target pregnant women and children under five. Nor do daaras have the financial resources to purchase ITNs for their students.

To address these gaps, PMI VectorLink Senegal, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Social Action through the NMCP, planned to reach talibé children via a pilot project which distributed ITNs at no-cost to daaras in the health district of Tivaouane, one of the nine districts in the Thies Region. Tivaouane health district has more than 200 daaras, home to approximately 50 talibé children per daara.

“Financial barriers are the main obstacles to vector control through ITNs in most daaras,” stated PMI VectorLink Senegal’s Abdul-Aziz Mbaye, who manages ITN distribution for the project, noting that in the few daaras where ITNs were available, there were not enough. Of the ITNs that were present, many were worn, with holes and  insecticide that was likely no longer effective.

Providing nets to the daaras was the first step. The next challenge was to adapt to the non-traditional sleeping quarters found in most of these schools. In most daaras, there are no regular beds. Children sleep on mattresses or mats on the floor, and three to five children often share one mattress. In some cases, the ITN size was smaller than the dedicated sleeping places. To help address this, VectorLink Senegal provided samples of merged ITNs (made by sewing together two ITNs to increase the size) to cover sleeping places of more than four talibé children. The daaras can replicate this model using local tailors but the pilot project showed that less than 20% of daaras merged the ITNs.

Another challenge is that many dormitories also serve as classrooms, with this multipurpose usage a barrier to the consistent use of bed nets. Mbaye shared that “the multiple uses [of rooms] prevent the permanent hanging of ITNs in the sleeping areas. To address this, daaras leadership requested support to acquire materials for the permanent hanging of ITNs in multi-purpose rooms.

Talibés sleeping under an ITN at a Daara in Medine health post in Tivaouane.
Talibés sleeping under an ITN at a Daara in Medine health post in Tivaouane. Photo Credit: Louis Dasylva, photographer

To further promote proper and consistent use of ITNs, PMI VectorLink Senegal, the NMCP, regional and district health officials, and daaras’ leadership developed posters in French, Arabic, and Wolof (written using the Arabic alphabet), the local language, and placed them in each daara that received ITNs. The posters focused on the advantages of using ITNs while sleeping, and how to properly hang a net.

Talibé children in front of the poster in Wolof written in Arabic.
Talibé children in front of the poster in Wolof written in Arabic. Photo Credit: Louis Dasylva, photographer

In total, PMI VectorLink Senegal and the NMCP distributed 7,312 ITNs to 237 daaras in August 2022, protecting 12,246 talibé children. When PMI VectorLink Senegal and the NMCP returned one month later to monitor the hanging of the nets, they found that in the daaras visited (89 percent), 82 percent of the ITNs distributed were hung, and all the talibé children at those daaras were sleeping under an ITN every night. The project’s close partnership with daaras’ leadership and the involvement of other local authorities responsible for governing and regulations concerning education and training in all aspects of planning and execution led to the successful implementation of the pilot.

Dr. Thiam stated that the NMCP will review the lessons learned from the pilot, and PMI VectorLink Senegal also identified points for improvement. For example, if there are future distributions (which the NMCP and PMI have yet to decide), the NMCP and its partners should perhaps share responsibility with daaras for merging ITNs.

​​​​​​​​​This pilot can help fill gaps in access to ITNs and eliminate barriers to proper and consistent use. Advancing equity in access moves Senegal towards its goal of achieving malaria elimination by 2030.

Year in Review: 2022’s Best from the PMI VectorLink Project

As we move into 2023, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink project is taking a short look back at some of our successes last year. Here are 2022’s best stories on how we partnered with countries to strengthen local ownership of malaria control interventions, reached some of the populations most vulnerable to malaria, and drove innovations to end malaria faster, along with a few profiles of some of the people that make this work possible.

Year in Review  

Going the Last Mile to Deliver Malaria Services in Zambia

Chisenga Island in Zambia is between one and three hours via boat from the mainland. Due to its remote location, malaria prevention is critical. The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, in collaboration with the Zambian Ministry of Health and its partners, provides life-saving malaria prevention interventions: spraying homes with insecticide and distributing mosquito nets. In this new video, we meet community member Fainess Mubanga and others, who come together to contribute to these malaria prevention efforts.

PMI VectorLink Zambia is Named a Winner of the USAID 2022 Digital Development Award

The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink Zambia Project has been named a winner in the USAID 2022 Digital Development Awards, which recognizes the use of technology to promote inclusive growth, foster resilient democratic societies, and empower communities around the world, including the most vulnerable and marginalized. PMI VectorLink Zambia, implemented by Abt Associates, was recognized for deploying a suite of digital tools that supports map-based data collection, monitoring, and capacity building to improve malaria control programs.

In 2020, malaria killed more than 600,000 people globally, with the disease burden exacerbated by shocks such as emerging disease threats like COVID-19, conflict, and climate change. Vector control programs such as distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) are some of the best ways of combating malaria, but the effectiveness of these campaigns relies upon real-time monitoring and evaluation data at community levels. To address this need, the PMI VectorLink Zambia Project mobilizes the digital tools necessary for Zambia to have quality, timely, secure, and accessible health information and is working with the Zambian government to apply them.

PMI VectorLink Zambia, in partnership with Akros, has developed a suite of digital tools, including the use of satellite imagery, digital micro planning maps, and a mobile application (Reveal), to guide and track the delivery of indoor residual spraying at the household level to ensure no communities or structures are missed. The project has supported the Zambian National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) and stakeholder workforce to use and apply the geospatial data for decision-making and to build a culture around data-use and technology. Additionally, PMI VectorLink Zambia is supporting the Zambian Ministry of Health to integrate project files into their routine data systems for expanded, long-term use of the datasets.

PMI VectorLink Chief of Party Nduka Iwuchukwu notes that having ready access to accurate, geographically distributed population and structure counts is essential to successfully plan and deploy malaria control interventions.

“The digital micro-planning and mapping tools helped the NMEP in 2021 to maximize the impact and coverage of its vector control strategy by delineating which communities would receive nets and which would be sprayed, based on their epidemiologic and operational profiles,” said VectorLink Zambia Chief of Party Nduka Iwuchukwu. “Incorporating the latest population and satellite data at a granular, sub-district level enhanced the planning exercise, and the continued use of the maps moving forward will benefit not only the country’s malaria elimination program, but other health programming across Zambia.”

Man looking at smart phone.
Supervisor review of map created by Reveal tool. This photo and photo above courtesy of Akros.

PMI VectorLink Zambia is part of the global PMI VectorLink Project, which works across 25 countries, supporting national governments to plan and implement proven, life-saving vector control programs, including IRS and the distribution of ITNs, with the overall goal of reducing the burden of malaria. The project uses a variety of rigorous data capture, data management, and data analytics tools across its portfolio, and country teams work side-by-side with their respective National Malaria Control Programs (NMCPs). Through the project-developed VectorLink Collect, a DHIS2-based database system, VectorLink manages a tremendous volume of data, and makes it accessible at all levels to internal and external stakeholders including NMCPs, USAID missions, in-country health teams and research partners, and PMI and USAID clients in Washington.


USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub received nearly 200 applications from around the world for this year’s awards. Each project was judged on its ability to support the digital ecosystem or digital technology development as outlined in USAID’s Digital Strategy. The other winners of this year’s Digis include the USAID/Colombia Rural Finance Initiative, USAID/RDMA Digital Asia Accelerator, USAID/Georgia Economic Security Program, and USAID/Nepal Building Hope Along the Karnali River Basin (BHAKARI) Program.

Go to to learn more about the 2022 Digital Development Awards winners.

School children in Atebubu ATSEC Model Primary School holding their ITNs after receiving them through school-based distribution.

Delivering Malaria Control Services in the Face of Global Shocks

The world has been rocked by high inflation and fuel shortages throughout 2022, and these challenges have impacted the delivery of malaria control services in many countries. Rising costs and limited supplies complicated routine vector control interventions—the distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) in Ghana and the deployment of indoor residual spraying (IRS) in Sierra Leone. But with the help of strong local partners and some creative planning, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink Project supported both countries in meeting their intended goals despite the obstacles in their way.


In Ghana, teachers in public schools embarked on a nationwide strike in July over the increasing cost-of-living and demanded the government pay them a cost-of-living allowance to help cope with the impacts of high inflation.

Ghana’s school-based ITN distribution coincided with the teachers’ strike. The National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP) and the School Health Education Program (SHEP), assisted by PMI VectorLink Ghana had originally planned to distribute 1,476,362 nets to students in primary two (second grade) and primary six (sixth grade) who would take these ITNs home for their households to use.

To facilitate the distribution, the NMEP and SHEP, with PMI VectorLink Ghana’s assistance, organized and trained 3,331 regional and district officers from the Ghana Education Service (GES) and Ghana Health Service to assist in the planning and management of the distribution, as well as supervision. A mobile app called Net4Schs was used in the exercise to record and report the distribution data.

At the beginning of the second week of the strike action, when the public school teachers were no longer in the schools, PMI VectorLink, the NMEP, and SHEP amended the plan and used community information centers in rural and semi-urban areas to mobilize parents and students to receive nets since the public schools were not in session due to the strike.  Head teachers and their assistants, who GES directed to remain in school, led the mobilization effort. They were also supported by school improvement support officers (similar to a school district’s superintendent) responsible for record keeping and data entry of nets distributed to students. In the private schools, which constitute 45 percent of primary schools in Ghana, students were able to receive their ITNs as originally planned because schools were in session. Students attending public schools in urban areas had to wait until the strike action was called off due to the difficulty in mobilizing parents who did not respond to requests from school authorities at the same rate as those in more rural areas.

In total, PMI VectorLink Ghana, the NMEP, and SHEP distributed over 1.4 million nets to students in 25,245 public and private schools. Together, the NMEP, SHEP, and PMI VectorLink Ghana monitored the distribution, ensuring students received the correct ITNs.

School children in Atebubu ATSEC Model Primary School holding their ITNs after receiving them through school-based distribution.
School children in Atebubu ATSEC Model Primary School after receiving ITNs through school-based distribution.
Photo Credit: Kwasi Djan

Sierra Leone

Prices of oil began to skyrocket towards the end of 2021 as the global economy bounced back from the lull caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With fuel stations not operating at full capacity because of a shortage of reserves in Sierra Leone, adequate fuel supply was hard to find.

PMI VectorLink covers vast distances during its campaigns to spray people’s homes with mosquito-killing insecticide. In Sierra Leone, the project sprays in two districts, Bo and Bombali. In May 2022, the team had the immense challenge of finding enough fuel, so they could protect over 650,000 people from malaria in the two districts with IRS before the rainy season began in early June.

To reach these people, many of whom live in remote communities, vehicles are crucial. Spray teams often need to travel long distances to reach the communities where spraying occurs. In 2021, fuel logistics were relatively simple—teams used local fuel stations—but in 2022, most local stations had major fuel shortages. As a result, PMI VectorLink Sierra Leone contracted a major fuel provider, National Petroleum, to ensure enough supply throughout the campaign. The team also had support from the District Health Management Teams, who had intermittent strategic stocks of fuel.

To cope with a limited fuel supply, PMI VectorLink Sierra Leone adjusted their daily spray calendar based on fuel availability, and they fully utilized community mobilizers to maintain regular communication with the target communities, so that residents would be as flexible as possible for potential spray date changes. For most villages, that occurred twice on average. If fuel supply was very low or not available on a specific date, the team would quickly reassess their calendar and conduct IRS in communities close to the base of operations versus spraying remote villages that day.

This strategy allowed the team to minimize disruptions as much as possible. In addition, quick coordination across all operational sites was possible due to the strong partnership with the local District Health Management Teams, who were integrated as part of the overall PMI VectorLink team and assigned to specific operational sites for local government capacity strengthening.

During the 2022 spray campaign, PMI VectorLink Sierra Leone sprayed 143,509 structures over 24 working days, protecting 652,232 people. The PMI VectorLink team did not let the fuel challenges impede their efforts to make this campaign a successful one. The team’s efforts paid off. PMI VectorLink Sierra Leone reached most of the houses they intended to spray and successfully met the 85 percent coverage goal as outlined by the World Health Organization.    

Spray operators in a car on their way to the community from the operational site.
Spray teams on their way to the community from the operational site.
Photo credit: Program Manager Djenam Jacob.

Mosquito vector control efforts often have challenges that need to be overcome, so malaria services can be delivered to those that need them most. While global challenges can impact the delivery of these services, careful planning and flexibility can enable successful interventions despite the challenges.  

The 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Annual Meeting is the premier forum for the exchange of scientific advances in tropical medicine, global health, and hygiene. This year’s event is taking place at the Seattle Convention Center in Seattle, Washington, USA.

VectorLink is pleased to announce our participation through the following symposium, oral presentations, and poster presentations, as follows. 

Symposium 119 | Wednesday, November 2 | 3:00 – 4:45 p.m. PST | In-person & Livestreamed

The Expansion of Anopheles Stephensi into the Horn of Africa and Beyond: How African Malaria Vector Surveillance and Control Is Adapting

Organizer: Matt Kirby, PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates

This symposium offers a pivotal opportunity to help build global consensus on a unified response to the urgent issue of the invasion and expansion of Anopheles Stephensi in Africa. It provides a forum for discussion around the challenges faced by four of the currently impacted countries—Ethiopia, India, Kenya, and Sudan—as well as the most feasible and scalable activities that should be implemented to address these challenges. We ask whether the goal should be elimination from Africa or containment and control.  

View at:

Scientific Session 128 | Thursday, November 3 | 8:00 – 9:45 a.m. PST | In-person + Livestreamed

Multi-Country Review of ITN Routine Distribution Data: Are ANC and EPI Channels Achieving Their Potential?

Speaker: Jane Miller, The PMI VectorLink Project, PSI. 

View at:

Scientific Session 134 | Thursday, November 3 | 8:00 – 9:45 a.m. PST | In-person

Efficacy of Partial Versus Full Surface Indoor Residual Spraying Against Wild Populations of Anopheles gambiae Sensu Lato in Experimental Huts in Tiassalé, Côte d’Ivoire

Speaker: Joseph Chabi, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates

View at:

Poster Session A | Monday, October 31 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. PST

Poster Number 107: Response of An. funestus s.l. and An. gambiae s.l. to Different Insecticides in Malawi.

Presenter: Leonard Dandalo, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates.

Poster Number 116: Status of Insecticide Resistance in Malaria Vectors in Three Provinces in Zambia: Informing the National Insecticide Resistance Management Plan.

Presenter: Mohamed Bayoh, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates.

Poster Number 117: Heterogeneity of Insecticide Susceptibility from Six Ecological Zones in Nigeria Suggest a Highly Evolving Anopheles gambiae s.l. Population Under Selection Pressure.

Presenters: Adedayo Oduola, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates; Okefu O. Ohoji, National Malaria Elimination Program, Nigeria.

Poster Number 131: Ecological Determinants & Recorded Distribution of Anopheles stephensi in Ethiopia.

Presenters: Meshesha Balkew, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates; Achamyelesh Sisay, Ministry of Health, Ethiopia.

Poster Number 311: Applying a Standardized, Molecular Entomology Data Labeling System in Ghana to Effectively Integrate into Central DHIS2 Database.

Presenters: Marianne Parrish, Allison Hendershot, Edem Obum, and Louisa Antwi-Agyei, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates.

Poster Number 409: Effect of Deltamethrin-Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO) Insecticide-Treated Nets on Malaria Case Incidence and Entomological Indicators in Ebonyi, Nigeria.

Presenters: Kelly Davis, The PMI VectorLink Project, PATH; Adedayo Oduola, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates.

Poster Session B | Tuesday, November 1 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. PST

Poster Number 754: Assessment of Behavior and Sociocultural Risk Factors Impacting Durability of Insecticide-Treated Nets in Mali.

Presenter: Moussa Cisse, Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire Appliqué. 

Poster Number 755: Results of Expanded Insecticide Resistance Monitoring to Several Ecological Zones in Cameroon for Appropriate Vector Control Decision Making Data.

Presenter: Etienne Fondjo, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates. 

Poster Number 764: The Entomological Impact of ITNs and IRS in the Americas: Filling the Knowledge Gaps.

Presenter: Manuela Hererra-Varela, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates. 

Poster Number 774: Longitudinal Surveillance of Malaria Vectors Using Four Different Mosquito Collection Methods from Village and Forest areas of Stung Treng and Mondulkiri Provinces, Cambodia.

Presenter: Matthew Kirby, the PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates; Dr. Siv Sovannaroth and Mao Sokny, National Center for Parasitology, Entomology, and Malaria Control, Cambodia.

Poster Number 1016: Community-Based Surveillance: A Key Procedure for Continuous Field Entomological Data Collection in Areas of Difficult Access in Mali.

Presenter: Libasse Gadiaga, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates. 

Poster Number 1021: Ecology, Distribution, and Insecticide Susceptibility Status of the Major Malaria Vector An. funestus s.l. in Guidimouni, Eastern Niger.

Presenters: Hadiza Soumaila, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates; Boube Hamani, National Malaria Control Program, Niger; Ibrahim Issa Arzika, Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire, Niger. 

Poster Session C | Wednesday, November 2 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. PST

Poster Number 1305: Vector Bionomics and Insecticide Resistance in Sierra Leone: Opportunities and Challenges in Decision-Making for Malaria Vector Control.

Presenters: Kevin Opondo, Laurent Iyikirenga, The PMI VectorLink Project, Abt Associates; Frederick Yamba, National Malaria Control Program, Sierra Leone.  

Poster Number 1603: Evaluating the Impact of Indoor Residual Spraying on Malaria Transmission in Madagascar Using Existing Data Sources.

Presenters: Emily Hilton, The PMI VectorLink Project, PATH; Tovotshimihefo Andriamanampisoa Orieux, National Malaria Control Program, Madagascar. 

Poster Number LB-5424: High Median Life of DuraNet Brand Insecticide-Treated Nets in Liberia: Results from Durability Monitoring in Two Sites, 2018-2021.

Presenters: Stephen Poyer, The PMI VectorLink Project, PSI