PMI VectorLink at ASTMH 2019

The 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (ASTMH).

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 – Sunday, November 24, 2019

The ASTMH Annual Meeting draws tropical medicine and global health professionals representing academia, government, non-profits, philanthropy, NGOs, industry, military, and private practice. The meeting is designed for researchers, professors, government and public health officials, military personnel, travel clinic physicians, practicing physicians in tropical medicine, students and all health care providers working in the fields of tropical medicine, hygiene and global health. The Annual Meeting is a five-day educational conference that includes four pre-meeting courses and draws approximately 4,800 attendees.

The PMI VectorLink Project is at the forefront of innovative prevention and surveillance methods that protect vulnerable communities in sub-Saharan Africa from the burden of malaria.

Click the image below to see our full list of ASTMH Presentations:

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
201 Waterfront Street
National HarborMD 20745
United States

Engaging Women in Vector Control

Engaging Women in Vector Control – Virtual Keystone Symposia.

On October 1, 2019, The PMI VectorLink Project participated in a live virtual event in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, covering the topic of Engaging Women in Vector Control. The event highlighted the Accelerate to Equal Initiative, which strives to understand and overcome the barriers to women’s engagement in public health efforts.

Two of our local gender focal points, Zeddy C. Bore– PMI VectorLink, Kenya and Helen Amegbletor – PMI VectorLink, Ghana, participated in the session and shared their experience leveraging women’s roles as leaders within their families and communities to more effectively and sustainably fight against malaria. Here is a snapshot of the session:

What strategies are used to secure women’s positions at PMI after taking maternity leave? 

ZB & HA: The PMI VectorLink Project has a well-documented policy regarding women due for maternity leave. While away on maternity leave, their positions are only temporarily filled by another staff member on the project. She will return to take up her role after her leave period is over. Should it become necessary for her to travel outside the work station for an overnight stay, she is allowed to go along with a nanny who can take care of her child while she is out in the field undertaking the activity. The nanny and baby-related travel and lodging costs are paid for by the project. This is to help encourage the breastfeeding of children up to 24 months and mother-child bonding is not affected.

To read more and to view the session recording, visit: Extending the Conversation | Engaging Women in Vector Control.


Building Capacity One Insectary at a Time

The PMI VectorLink Project Helps Establish Sierra Leone’s First Vector-Borne Disease Insectary and Laboratory.

In the West African country of Sierra Leone, 100 percent of the population is at risk of contracting malaria. Despite the country’s incredible progress in reducing the number of deaths related to malaria in recent years, the disease still contributes to an estimated 2,240,000 outpatient hospital visits every year. One million of those patients are under the age of five[1].

Lab technician at work in Sierra Leone’s VBDIL.

To protect people from malaria, Sierra Leone uses both insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). However, the emergence and spread of insecticide resistance pose major challenges for the way the country currently conducts its vector control interventions. In efforts to help stakeholders and Sierra Leone’s government make strategic plans on where to conduct specific malaria control interventions, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) worked in collaboration with Sierra Leone’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the Neglected Tropical Diseases Program to establish the country’s very first, fully-functional Vector-Borne Disease Insectary and Laboratory (VBDIL) to support entomological monitoring for malaria, and research for other vector-borne diseases. 

A key defense to fighting the infectious disease is understanding the enemy. The more scientists know about the Anopheles vector – the mosquito that carries the malaria parasite – the better equipped they will be in making vector control decisions. The VBDIL will allow the country’s entomologists to test the resistance of Anopheles mosquitoes to malaria vector control products. Being able to assess the effectiveness of potential vector control interventions will help the country make strategic decisions for vector control programming. To protect people from malaria, Sierra Leone currently uses insecticide-treated nets and plans to use indoor residual spraying.

“We have no doubt that the collaboration and partnership with PMI VectorLink will contribute immensely to the fight against malaria in Sierra Leone.” – Dr. Samuel Juana Smith, NMCP Program Manager

With the VBDIL in place, Sierra Leone will be able to undertake most of the entomological activities themselves without having to rely on data from other countries. Since the VBDIL was established, entomologists have reared mosquitoes of the An. gambiae s.s Kisumu strain – the primary mosquito vector responsible for the transmission of malaria in most of sub-Saharan Africa – making it the first time Sierra Leone can rely on quality vector control tools in-country. The insectary and laboratory offer the required conditions to rear mosquitoes from larvae collected at nearby sentinel sites. Trained entomologists then use the reared mosquitoes and assess their susceptibility to the insecticides used in IRS and ITNs. Based on data collected and the results gathered from these susceptibility tests conducted in the VBDIL, the NMCP has advocated for the procurement and 100 percent use of piperonyl butoxide (PBO) nets, for Sierra Leone’s next insecticide-treated net mass campaign set to take place in 2020. PBO nets have been shown to significantly reduce malaria infection in areas with high rates of insecticide resistance.[2] Dr. Samuel Juana Smith, NMCP Program Manager says that they “have no doubt that the collaboration and partnership with PMI VectorLink will contribute immensely to the fight against malaria in Sierra Leone.”

U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer, visits the VBDIL during its Grand Opening in Makeni.

To build human resource capacity and ensure country ownership, PMI VectorLink trained members from Sierra Leone’s NMCP, District Health Office, and Ministry of Health (MOH) on mosquito sampling and identification, insecticide resistance monitoring, and cone bioassay tests. Now, trained staff from the MOH and district offices support the monthly entomological monitoring in four sentinel districts: Bombali, Bo, Kono, and Western Rural area. The insectary and entomology laboratory will also be used by research and academic institutions and will serve as an avenue for building further local capacity in country.

[1]National Malaria Strategic Plan 2016-2020, National Malaria Control Program. Ministry of Health & Sanitation. 2015.
[2] Katherine Gleave et al. “Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) combined with pyrethroids in insecticide‐treated nets to prevent malaria in Africa” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Nov; doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012776.pub2



Closing the Entomology Gap in Zambia

PMI VectorLink Trains Government on Morphological Identification of Anopheles Vectors.

Trainees learn how to identify Anopheles vectors morphologically.

The PMI VectorLink Project recently conducted a one-week training for Zambia’s government environmental health technicians (EHTs) in entomological monitoring and morphological identification of Anopheles mosquitoes, the vector which carries the malaria parasite. The training is part of VectorLink’s effort to increase the Zambian government’s capacity to identify Anopheles mosquitoes – an area that was once a significant gap across various entomological monitoring sites in Zambia. Trained entomologists are critical to ensuring the necessary monitoring is conducted and applied to crucial decision making in the deployment of malaria control interventions. 

The training, held August 5-9, 2019, was hosted at the National Malaria Elimination Centre (NMEC) in Lusaka. Thirty-two government employees representing entomological monitoring sites from across all 10 provinces in Zambia attended.

While addressing the trainees during the official opening, NMEC Deputy Director Dr. Busiku Hamainza said entomological surveillance is now considered an intervention in the national strategy and recognized PMI VectorLink’s tireless efforts in ensuring standards in vector surveillance within the PMI-supported districts, as well as in districts supported by the government and other partners.

The training consisted of two field visits to a site in the neighboring district of Chongwe. The field visits covered training on the main vector surveillance methods, including pyrethrum spray catch, CDC light traps, human landing catch, backpack aspiration, and larval collections.

Each trainee worked with morphological identification experts to ensure they were able to correctly identify the common Anopheles species in Zambia. VectorLink Zambia provided participants with a copy of the Anopheles identification key for use after the training.

In his remarks about the training, the NMEC’s Principal Malaria Control Officer and acting Chief Entomologist Mr. Willy Ngulube said, “This training has been timely and addressed a key entomology capacity need of the country. The program now expects high-quality entomological data from the districts as we proceed to monitor the impact of the 2019 IRS campaign on the various entomological indicators.”

Trainees and facilitators at the National EHT training on vector surveillance and mosquito identification.

PMI VectorLink Protects the Most Vulnerable from Malaria

Malaria is the deadliest disease in Malawi, killing an average of 8 people a day, and sickening thousands more every year. For those with HIV and compromised immune systems, the disease is extremely dangerous. In 2018, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative’s VectorLink Project brought indoor residual spraying back to Malawi after a six-year absence to help reduce the burden of malaria. The results have been amazing. 



Gift Wants to Be A Police Officer

The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative Fights Malaria in Malawi and Helps Keep Kids in School

When kids fall sick from malaria, they often miss weeks of school and can easily fall behind in their learning. In 2017, many of the children in Malawi’s Nkhotakota District were contracting the disease three times a year. Children sick that often can easily slide into malnutrition. Find out how the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative VectorLink Project protected more than 500,000 people in Malawi and is helping kids to stay in school and learn. 


The PMI VectorLink Project is hard at work in Cameroon today, highlighting the important work and lessons learned in malaria prevention and control in Africa at the 2019 Pan-African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA) Conference. PAMCA brings together mosquito-control experts and researchers from Africa and beyond. The theme of this year’s conference is Strengthening surveillance systems for vector-borne disease elimination in Africa.

The PMI VectorLink Project will present the following:


Monday, September 23 | Workshop Hall (BETE ABC)
4:40 – 4:50 p.m.
A good spray: entomological surveillance results from a cluster-randomized trial to evaluate the impact of a third-generation indoor residual spray product on malaria transmission in Mozambique Abt Presenter: Kenyssony Varela

5:00 – 5:10 p.m.
Insecticide susceptibility status of An. gambiae s.l. in four sentinel sites in Cameroon  Abt Presenter: Etienne Fondjo

Tuesday, September 24, Main Hall
3:00 – 3:10 p.m.
Host preference and feeding patterns of primary malaria vectors, Anopheles arabiensis and Anopheles gambiae s.s. in sites with or without indoor residual spraying in Rwanda Abt Presenter: Elias Niyituma

Tuesday, September 24 | Workshop Hall (BETE ABC)
3:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Increasing intensity of pyrethroid resistance in An. gambiae s.l. and the implication for vector control in Democratic Republic of Congo.  Abt Presenter: Francis Wat’senga


Insecticide susceptibility of An. gambiae s.l to chlorfenapyr in areas of high pyrethroid resistance from Cote d’Ivoire: Implications for malaria vector control Abt Presenter: Bernard Kouassi Loukou

Susceptibility testing of Anopheles malaria vectors with the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin; results from 16 African countries, in preparation for indoor residual spraying with new insecticide formulations Abt Presenter: Richard Oxborough

Malaria vectorial system and insecticide resistance in Ethiopia Abt Presenter: Meshesha Managido

Comparison of malaria transmission and vector dynamics during years when IRS was/was not conducted in Senegal Abt Presenter: Abdoulaye Diop

Estimates of entomological indicators in Zambia during three years of indoor residual spraying with pirimiphos methyl Abt Presenter: Westone Hamwata

Evaluation of Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein ELISA protocols for sporozoite detection in mosquito homogenates Abt Presenter: Nobert Mudare

Association of Anopheles gambiae sl KDR polymorphism with anti-Plasmodium falciparum refractory phenotype in Zimbabwe Abt Presenter: Brenda Makonyere

Booster Talk | Wednesday, September 25 | Main Hall (BOUMA ABC)
2:33 – 2:36 p.m.
2018 insecticide resistance status of Anopheles gambiae s.l. in Burkina Faso Abt Presenter: Hien Aristide

Booster Talk | Wednesday, September 25 | Main Hall
2:42 – 2:45 p.m.
The biting patterns of anopheles mosquitoes from three high malaria burden districts in Malawi Abt Presenter: Leonard Dandalo

The Importance of Entomological Monitoring

The PMI VectorLink Project delivers vector control interventions and protects millions of people from contracting malaria. An integral part of our work is robust entomological monitoring, that enables entomologists to identify which mosquitoes carry malaria, the relative geographical and temporal distribution of the mosquitoes transmitting malaria, and the feeding and resting habits of the vector. Watch how we use entomological monitoring to better understand and mitigate mosquitoes’ growing resistance to insecticide, to ensure that we protect vulnerable communities from malaria.  

2018 Results and Project Outcomes

PMI VectorLink reports on a set of indicators to national partners and PMI for each spray campaign. The key outcomes achieved by the end of the campaign include the total number of structures sprayed, people protected against malaria with IRS, and country personnel trained to conduct various IRS tasks. As the project expands its vector control interventions to include insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), PMI VectorLink will also report on a specific set of indicators related to the intervention. Below is a summary of results from PMI VectorLink’s first indoor residual spray campaign, held in 2018.


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We Do Nets Too!

Integrated vector control for malaria, according to the WHO Guidelines for Malaria Vector Control, requires “rational decision-making for the optimal use of resources for vector control”.  For the U.S. President’s Initiative (PMI) VectorLink Project, it involves making vector control decisions—whether to deploy IRS or ITNs—based on epidemiological, entomological, and cost data to ensure the most vulnerable communities are protected from the burden of malaria. With the rise in mosquitoes’ resistance to certain insecticides, it is important to consider a country’s specific vector control profile – its history with IRS and ITN interventions, and the malaria vector’s resistance to each type of insecticide – when making these decisions.

Hover over the map below for a snapshot of our indoor residual spray, insecticide-treated net, and entomological monitoring activities by country.



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