Malaria remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Burundi. In 2016, the number of malaria cases reached 8.3 million, out of a population of 11 million. The malaria epidemic is concentrated in the eastern, central, and northern parts of the country. The most important determinant of this situation is an increase in the number of vectors transmitting malaria. Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) is only conducted in a few selected districts and mosquito net utilization is low, at 24% pregnant women in key provinces (DHS 2016). The previous mass distribution of mosquito nets was in mid-2014. Since October 2017, following the mass distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) funded by Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM) with support from USAID, malaria caseloads are 50% lower than 2016 and 22% lower than 2015. The monitoring of mosquito populations and behaviors are critical for evidence-based planning to control malaria in Burundi.
The PMI VectorLink Project in Burundi will focus on sustaining recent gains achieved under the PMI Africa Indoor Residual Spraying Project by continuing entomological monitoring activities and monitoring the field durability of ITNs.
PMI VectorLink Burundi aims to strengthen national capacity in vector surveillance and control. This support includes technical assistance for the collection of data on vector species composition, behavior, and susceptibility to the main classes of insecticides used in vector control, as well as the establishment and operationalization of sentinel sites, development of national human resources, and the institution of essential infrastructure for entomological surveillance.
In addition, PMI VectorLink Burundi will cover technical assistance for IRS included in the National Malaria Strategic Plan to strengthen the implementation of this intervention in the country. The technical assistance will include planning of IRS, operation management, conducting cone bioassay tests to assess the quality of spraying and estimate the residual life of insecticide sprayed, and an environmental assessment in the IRS areas.
Vector surveillance activities for VectorLink Burundi will focus on building capacity at the nine sentinel sites to ensure essential entomological surveillance activities are carried out, gradually ensuring the sustainability of gains and the cost-effectiveness of activities. The project will also support entomological fieldwork to collect data on malaria vector species and their distribution, behavior, infectivity, and susceptibility to insecticides, as well as the development of an insecticide resistance management plan. The project will also continue to support the maintenance and procurement of equipment for the insectary, and the development of human resources through in-service training at the regional level.
Furthermore, the project will also initiate PCR work in country with refurbishment of a building available at the premises of Gihanga insectary, including procurement of equipment and reagents. In addition, VectorLink Burundi will work in full collaboration with the NMCP, Global Fund, World Vision, and Médecins Sans Frontières-Belgium to ensure efficient planning and implementation of IRS.
Building on the progress made so far in strengthening entomological surveillance, VectorLink aims to achieve the following specific objectives:
- Provide technical assistance for vector control and entomological surveillance, compliance, and monitoring
- Monitor changes in density, species composition, behavior, infectivity, and susceptibility to insecticides of malaria vectors
- Maintain and equip facilities for entomological surveillance (insectary and molecular lab)
- Build human resource capacity for vector surveillance
- Provide technical support for IRS implementation