The 9th Annual Meeting of the Roll Back Malaria Vector Control Working Group convened 19 to 21 February in Geneva, with 192 participants from 103 institutions and 44 countries, including 19 countries in Africa, 9 in Asia, 11 in Europe and 2 in Oceania. Bringing together partners from diverse skills and backgrounds, from national vector borne disease control programmes, research and academic institutes, foundations, international and bilateral organizations, industry, NGOs, and colleagues from the housing sector, environment, and the corporate business sector, the meeting enabled a common understanding of the current status of policies and strategies and an opportunity to develop new links, partnerships and ideas for collective action.
Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, RBM Executive Director and Dr John Reeder, Director Special Programme for Research & Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and interim Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, opened the meeting, laying out the significant, but still fragile gains of the past decade of malaria control and the challenges moving forward. Over the following three days in plenary and smaller group presentations and discussions, the work streams discussed and developed action points to address these challenges, including the threat of insecticide resistance; maintaining universal LLIN coverage, especially in an era of constrained resources; improving the capacity, efficiency and impact of Indoor Residual Spraying; developing new paradigms for vector control and personal protection, including for outdoor transmission, beyond the reach of our traditional IRS and LLINs; bringing scientific rigor to our vector control efforts, including larval control; and building capacity for the next generation of public health entomologists and vector control specialists who can adapt to the evolving threats and opportunities for sustainable integrated vector management.
A new area of discussion was how we can collaborate in the rapidly evolving housing and infrastructure sector to reduce the threat of vectors in the domestic environment. While the challenges are significant, so are the opportunities. The 9th VCWG meeting marked a recognition of how far the vector control community has advanced in recent years, and strengths and opportunities of multisectoral collaboration that will lead us into the future.