DAKAR, Senegal -­- The U.S. Goverrnment, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, launched two new activities under the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) in Senegal yesterday with the start of the first large-scale community-based spraying campaign in Senegal in the village of Keur Moussa and the delivery of 200,000 bednets in outlying areas of the capital, Dakar.

These activities are part of a comprehensive malaria program in Senegal, which includes indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated bed nets for prevention, medical interventions to address malaria in pregnancy, and effective diagnosis and treatment of malaria with artemisinin-based combination therapies at both health facility and community levels. This year, Senegal, where malaria accounts for more deaths than any other single cause, will receive $16.7 million in PMI assistance.

“This is a significant step to protect children and their families where malaria is the biggest killer of children and a leading cause of death among adults too,” said Admiral Tim Ziemer, coordinator, President’s Malaria Initiative. “Because it is relatively inexpensive and very effective, USAID supports the spraying of homes with insecticides as a part of a balanced, comprehensive malaria prevention and treatment program.”

“I congratulate the people of Nioro for your participation in the first-ever campaign of its kind,” said U.S. Ambassador Janice Jacobs. “You are going to make history.”

Ambassador Jacobs and a Ministry of Health delegation led by Colonel Cheikh Samba Ndiaye, Director of the Public Hygiene Service, joined hundreds of villagers for a community celebration in the remote village of Keur Moussa, near the Gambia border to learn about malaria and what to expect when the sprayers visit. Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) is the application of safe insecticides to the indoor walls and ceilings of a home or structure in order to interrupt the spread of malaria by killing mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite.

To ensure safety, residents are informed to remove all furniture and belongings before the house is sprayed, and they should not reenter their homes for several hours after spraying has been completed.

The spraying campaign in the districts of Nioro, Richard Toll, and Valingara are using the nontoxic chemical ICON (lambda-cyhalothrin), one of the World Health Organization approved insecticides for IRS.

This activity is the first large-scale community spraying effort in West Africa. During the 1950s and 1960s, indoor residual spraying (IRS), including with DDT, together with improved standards of living, helped eliminate or control malaria in many areas around the globe. Because of the intense and efficient transmission of the disease and because of the lack of infrastructure necessary to undertake such an intensive spraying effort, Africa was left out because it was judged to be too difficult.

PMI is supporting national malaria control program IRS operations with WHO-approved insecticides in Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, Zambia, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Madagascar, with an additional seven countries to begin receiving support soon. Insecticide choice depends upon national regulatory status, entomological factors (e.g. insecticide resistance) and epidemiological factors (e.g. length of transmission season). In some countries, such as Zambia, Ethiopia, and possibly soon Mozambique and Madagascar, this includes DDT.

Later in the day, the first of some 200,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs) from the PMI were distributed to caregivers young children in peri-urban Dakar (Gudiawaye, Mbao, Pikine, and Rufisque) as part of the annual “national micronutrient days” organized by the Ministry of Health to ensure that all children get the recommended regular dose of vitamin A. During May 29-31, teams of health workers go door-to-door to give children vitamin A, and give coupons entitling the mother of every participating child to a free bednet during the campaign.

Until recently, bednets had to be treated with insecticide at least once a year. Newer technologies will not require the net to be re-treated for up to four years. All PMI-provided or subsidized bednets in Senegal will be the new, long-lasting type.

The PMI is an interagency initiative led by USAID, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and host-country governments, as key partners. The goal of the PMI is to assist national malaria control programs to cut malaria-related deaths by 50 percent in 15 focus countries in Africa. This goal will be achieved by reaching 85 percent of the most vulnerable groups — children under five years of age and pregnant women – with proven and effective prevention and treatment measures.

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[tags]USAID Malaria campaign, President’s Malaria Initiative, Senegal relief[/tags]