Abuja — Health experts and other stakeholders will gather in Cotonou, the Benin Republic capital from Monday 28th November to move forward regional initiatives for Malaria vector control towards the elimination of the mosquito- borne scourge in the ECOWAS region.
The main objective of the three-day technical consultation meeting organized by the ECOWAS Commission is to strengthen the vector control component of an integrated malaria elimination strategy in the region.
Benin's Minister of Health, Professor Dorothee Kinde-Gazard is expected to declare open the meeting to be conducted in plenary and working group sessions with participants from countries with larviciding experience in the ECOWAS region (Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, The Gambia) and other African countries including Kenya, making presentations on various malaria control interventions.
The topics for discussion include Malaria vector control in the ECOWAS region: situation, challenges and the way forward; Environmental management and malaria control, larviciding in Africa; Methodology for impact assessment of larviciding; Advocacy, communication and social mobilization as well as Monitoring and Evaluation at regional level. According to Dr. Mariane Ngoulla, Health Adviser to the ECOWAS Commission, within the context of the ECOWAS Malaria Elimination Campaign, the increasing use of biolarvicides for malaria vector control in the ECOWAS region, calls for an appropriate framework to guaranty the impact of this intervention on malaria in the region.
The meeting is expected among other tasks, to develop a methodology to assess the impact of larviciding on malaria and discuss challenges in the use of Long- lasting Insecticidal nets, (LLINs) and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), and suggest the way forward. It is also expected to identify measures to improve the efficacy and accessibility of the vector control products, as well as propose key strategy for advocacy, behaviour change communication and social mobilization, and agree on a monitoring and evaluation plan for malaria vector control in ECOWAS.
The participants from each of the countries will include Managers of Malaria Control Programmes, Monitoring and Evaluation, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) as well as Behaviour Change Communication experts, and Medical Entomologists. Other participants will be from the African Network on Vector Resistance to Insecticide (ANVR), Research Institutes, as well as representatives of ECOWAS, the World Health Organization (WHO), West African Health Organization (WAHO), Roll-Back-Malaria (RBM), biolarvicide manufacturing group, Labiofam, the Media and Civil Society organizations, including rural farmers, traders and the West African Women's Association (WAWA).
The Cotonou meeting is a follow up to the one organized by the Commission in Accra, Ghana last July, where the President of the Commission, His Excellency James Victor Gbeho urged governments in the region to declare war on malaria and its vector, the mosquito. Official statistics show that a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds in Africa which accounts for 86 percent or 212 million of the global 247 million malaria cases worldwide.
According to the UN health agency WHO, 12 of the 30 highly endemic malaria countries are in West Africa, where the disease is the principal cause of morbidity and mortality among children and pregnant women.