Of the estimated 20 million people who live in Niger, 94 percent are considered at risk for malaria infection. Malaria transmission is concentrated in the southern part of the country and occurs primarily during the rainy season, which runs from June to September. Although child and maternal deaths are declining, malaria remains the first cause of illness and death among these two vulnerable population groups. Pregnant women are four times more likely to suffer from the complications of malaria than non-pregnant women, and more than half (56 percent) of all deaths in health facilities are attributed to malaria.
According to Niger’s Annual Health Statistic Report (2016), there were over 3.3 million uncomplicated malaria cases, over 172,000 severe malaria cases, and 1,561 malaria deaths in 2016, putting it among the countries with the highest per capita rate of malaria fatalities globally1, 2.
The National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) has historically used intermittent preventative treatment of malaria in pregnancy, seasonal malaria chemoprevention, and vector control interventions such of insecticide-treated net (ITN) distribution as the main malaria prevention measures in Niger. In 2018, a comprehensive package of entomology monitoring and evaluation activities will be supported in order to establish baseline data, in anticipation of expanded insecticide-based vector control activities in the future.
In its second year of implementation, The PMI VectorLink Project will continue to provide entomological monitoring technical support to the NMCP and will expand to include insecticide resistance monitoring and bimonthly vector bionomics surveillance in ten sites, to generate critical data for vector control decision making. The project will also continue providing technical support around LLIN durability monitoring and continuous distribution to enhance integrated vector control programming in Niger.
The project’s key objectives for each component are as follows:
- Determine the susceptibility of the primary malaria vector gambiae s.l. to insecticides in ten sentinel sites selected by the NMCP, which are spread across the three endemicity zones;
- Measure the intensity of resistance to insecticides in the sites where resistance detected;
- Determine the mechanism of resistance when resistance is observed; and
- Monitor the density, species composition, behavior, and infectivity of malaria vectors in the ten districts.
- Determine the susceptibility of the primary malaria vector An. gambiae s.l. to insecticides in nine sentinel sites selected by the NMCP;
- Measure the intensity of resistance to insecticides in the nine sentinel sites;
- Perform tests to understand the mechanism of resistance;
- Monitor the density, species composition, behavior, and infectivity of malaria vectors in five sentinel districts spread across the three endemicity zones; and
- Build NMCP capacity to use entomological data for decision making.
The PMI VectorLink Project will also provide ITN technical support, including:
Insecticide-Treated Net (ITN) Durability Monitoring:
- Conduct the 12-month assessment of the physical durability of Olyset mosquito nets distributed through the 2018 mass campaign at sites selected by the NMCP and PMI (Madaoua in the Tahoua region and Gazaoua in the Maradi region);
- Compare ITN durability across the different sites and identify major determinants of field performance;
- Describe major behavioral aspects of net care and repair and their impact on physical durability; and
- Assess the insecticide effectiveness through bio-assays at 12 months.
National capacity building:
- Leverage the findings of the PMI VectorLink 2018 ITN continuous distribution assessment to strengthen ITN distribution approaches and maintain ITN coverage in Niger, in coordination with the NMCP and relevant stakeholders;
- Support the rehabilitation of the CERMES insectary to control temperature and humidity conditions that are favorable for mosquito rearing.