IRS is one of the key malaria control strategies of the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s Zambian National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP), which provides technical guidance, leadership, and coordination of malaria control and prevention activities in Zambia.
In 2017, the government officially launched the National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan 2017–2021, which aims to transition Zambia from malaria control to malaria elimination. In the same year, PMI continued IRS in the same 36 high-burden districts across Eastern, Luapula, Muchinga, and Northern Provinces and sprayed 634,410 structures out of 676,188 structures found. In 2018, PMI VectorLink, together with Zambia’s National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP), supported IRS in Northern, Luapula and Muchinga Provinces and three pre-elimination districts (Chadiza, Katete, and Sinda) in Eastern Province. In 2018, VectorLink sprayed 579,490 structures out of 644,677 structures found. In 2019, VectorLink conducted IRS in 20 districts, targeting 597,625 structures using a clothianidin-based insecticide from October 2 to November 30, 2019. A total of 536,983 structures were sprayed out of 598,732 structures found by spray operators (SOPs) in the targeted districts, accounting for a coverage rate of 90%. From September 29-November 18, 2020, PMI VectorLink supported IRS in 15 districts across Eastern (all nine districts), Copperbelt (the three rural districts), and Luapula (three districts) Provinces, targeting 639,536 structures which was later adjusted to 629,255 structures (after removing ineligible structures in Nchelenge). VectorLink sprayed 648,914 structures out of 672,581 structures found, resulting in a spray coverage of 97%.
In Year 4 (April 2021 – March 2022), the PMI VectorLink Zambia project will work with the NMEP, provinces, and districts to spray 699,591 targeted structures in 21 districts using a clothianidin-based insecticide. The project’s objective is to implement high-quality and safe IRS operations attaining a minimum coverage of 85 percent of the targeted structures found in each targeted community in the 21 districts. In addition to spraying, in Year 4, the project will support the NMEP with the planned transition from IRS to ITNs as the primary vector control intervention by 2023. This entails universal ITN coverage during the 2023 mass campaign, while IRS will become targeted at selected districts/hotspots. To support this transition, VectorLink will provide support to strengthen routine ITN distribution channels and entomological monitoring capability to be able to detect any rebounds in malaria incident at the district level. VectorLink will also support the NMEP to ensure on-time commencement of GRZ supported IRS campaigns in 2021 by assisting with one-off procurement of key spray equipment and PPE. In addition, in Year 4, the project will carry out the following activities:
- Provide technical assistance to the NMEP, provincial and district health offices on training, monitoring and supervision of DDT use in former PMI-supported provinces–Northern, Luapula, and Muchinga.
- Conduct entomological monitoring activities in seven surveillance districts to assess the impact of IRS operations on standard PMI entomological indicators.
- Maintain the satellite offices in Chipata, Ndola, and Nchelenge to decentralize IRS planning activities and provide direct technical assistance to the districts in Eastern, Copperbelt, and Luapula Provinces.
- Assist NMEP in strengthening engagement with the private sector through public-private partnerships, especially with selected mining companies on the Copperbelt.
- Enhance GRID3 maps with revised health facility catchment area boundaries and facilitate use of these maps during microplanning meetings. Fully enumerate Kalulushi district in Copperbelt Province.
- Assist the NMEP in select post-mass ITN campaign wrap-up activities and strengthen routine ITN distribution at the central level and in the PMI focus provinces of Luapula, Muchinga, Northern, and Eastern, as well as rural districts in Copperbelt Province, by reviewing existing continuous distribution guidelines and exploring new potential channels for optimal distribution.
- Conduct baseline and 12-month standard durability monitoring study rounds on PBO nets distributed in Eastern Province.
- Support NMEP to implement an assessment of ITN repurposing and misuse by communities in Luapula, Northern, and Muchinga Provinces. This study was planned for in Year 3 (2020) but had to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Through the PATH-led integrated data analytics activity, continue to provide technical assistance to the NMEP Vector Control and Surveillance. Monitoring and Evaluation, and Operations Research (SMEOR) units for visualization development and data review to support vector control decision-making.