The purpose of the Vector Control Working Group (VCWG) is to align RBM partners on best practices to reach and maintain universal coverage with effective vector control interventions.
Dr Keziah Malm Ghana Malaria Control Programme
Dr Jacob WilliamsUSA
Working Group Secretariat
30 January - 1 February 2019
Malaria control efforts over the past decade have shown remarkable success. According to the 2015 World Malaria Report, between 2000 and 2013, malaria mortality reduced by 47% globally and by 54% in the WHO African region. 55 countries are on track to reduce malaria burden by 75%, in line with World Health Assembly target for 2015. These achievements have been in large part due to the scale up of vector control, especially the deployment of insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). These fragile gains are now seriously threatened by insecticide resistance in the mosquito vector, by diminishing financial support, by our inability to prevent transmission beyond the reach of our traditional treated mosquito nets and indoor spraying, and by the capacity needs of national programs to implement entomological monitoring and optimize their scant resources for vector control. This is a critical time for global malaria control efforts and for communities that are now at greater risk for a resurgence of malaria illness and death.
In meeting these challenges, the VCWG also sees opportunities. The year 2015 is the final year for the Millennium Development Goals, to be followed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For post 2015, the malaria control community has defined new goals which are covering the period 2016-2030, laid down in the two essential reads, the RBMs guide for collective Action and Investment to defeat malaria 2016-2030 (AIM) – for a malaria free world, complementing WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 (GTS).
Vector control has been shown to achieve quick and significant reductions in malaria transmission in many eco-epidemiological settings. It remains the primary arsenal in the path to malaria elimination. As coverage levels and protection improve, there is a need to ensure that potential loss of immunity among the protected populations, do not lead to flare ups of incidence. The challenge and goal will be to maintain ongoing protection of these populations. Rising insecticide resistance and current difficulties in addressing residual transmission, for example, denote an urgent need for innovation and new tools that expand the paradigms of effective intervention and increase opportunities for more cost-effective and sustainable vector control. The VCWG therefore promotes basic research and development into new tools, and the translation of vector control priorities into operational research, combining the input of its constituent national and international academia/research and private sector development partners. Through increased collaboration with regional networks like Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN), Pan African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA) and Pakistan–Islamic Republic of Iran–Afghanistan Malaria Network (PIAM-Net), the VCWG ensures that the specific needs of regional networks are fully considered in its deliberations on global malaria strategies.
The diversity of the VCWG is its strength. Whether it is long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) distribution or durability monitoring, IRS capacity building, larval source management (LSM), the global plan for insecticide resistance management (GPIRM) implementation, or addressing evolving challenges and new tools to meet these challenges and also expand the paradigms of intervention, the diversity of VCWG members allows for a rich dialogue and mutual learning, and for developing more robust and adaptive responses.
There are two opportunities in this diverse partnership especially important to the VCWG. First is the place of the commercial sector. Through individual company membership, through participation of consortia such as GBCHealth and CropLife, and through product development partnerships, such as the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC), the VCWG provides a forum where all the constituencies, including the commercial sector, can come together to build consensus on the challenges and opportunities in vector control. The second, emerging opportunity of particular importance to the VCWG, is through the recently launched United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-RBM Multisectoral Action Framework for Malaria Control, providing a roadmap for engaging an even broader range of partners from the agriculture sector, infrastructure, education, housing and urban development, etc. on mosquito and vector control.
Functions of the Working Group
There is no single recommendation on how malaria interventions like LLINs, IRS, LSM, resistance management schemes etc., should be brought effectively to scale and be sustained and how these intervention can evolve to meet emerging biological, programmatic and financial threats. It is a basic function of the VCWG to translate the heterogeneity of malaria transmission and ecology, and need for adequate consideration of local priorities in its support of individual national health systems.
Convene: Organize and convene meetings, workshops and electronic fora to debate and develop consensus among stakeholders through adaptation and implementation of WHO norms and standards on one side, but also to share innovations and experiences on how collectively we can overcome challenges and take advantage of emerging opportunities for vector control.
Co-ordinate: Manage fora for building consensus on how to effectively implement, run and sustain vector control programs. This includes building the understanding between the needs of the national programs, the needs of the product manufacturers, academia and implementers to understand each other and to work together to find innovative solutions and stimulate appropriate research and development.
Facilitate Communication: Assemble evidence on best practices and ensure flow of information from the field to the working group and vice versa including communication between VC related networks. Work through the Sub-Regional Networks (SRNs) and in collaboration with other RBM mechanisms to coordinate with partners in mobilizing technical and financial resources and providing support to national control efforts.
For further information, please refer to the VCWG Revised Terms of Reference adopted in January 2014 following the 25th RBM Partnership Board meeting.