By Noel Chimwala
Mangochi, Mana: A delegation of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Thursday toured Mangochi where it appreciated the 2021 Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) campaign currently being implemented by World Vision Malawi (WVM) and the Ministry of Health as a malaria prevention strategy in villages across the district.
Leading the delegation to Mthiramanja IRS Operating Site in Traditional Authority (TA) Chimwala, National Community Health Ambassador, Maziko Matemba urged people in Mangochi to continue accepting the IRS to ensure ‘zero cases of malaria.’
He said the CSOs decided to monitor and appreciate the progress of IRS in the area to check on progress as it reached day 22 of 36 days of dwelling structures spray.
“Results show 68 percent progress on day 22 of the target of 90 percent of 36 days of operation and this shows success of the operation and we appreciate that people have now understood the significance of IRS to meet zero malaria prevention aspiration,” Matemba said.
He urged people to continue following all malaria preventive measures, saying Malaria was a number one killer disease and is counterproductive at household level.
District Coordinator for Mangochi IRS, Confidence Mkungula said the district was at 90 percent coverage though facing some challenges, citing some community members who resist the spray.
The IRS campaign involves spray operators who are deployed across the district to spray every dwelling structure with insecticides that kill mosquitoes.
“So far, we have reduced malaria cases by 60 percent in Mangochi,” Mkungula said, adding that WVM and the Ministry of Health started the implementation of IRS in Mangochi in 2019.
The 2021 IRS campaign has created about 1, 500 jobs for young people in the positions ranging from site operation manager, spray operator to security guards in operation sites and washers that clean personal protective equipment in form of work suits, gumboots and gloves.
Apart from employing staff on a temporary basis such as site operation managers and monitoring and evaluation officers, the 2021 IRS campaign has involved Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) to help mobilise households to comply with the IRS guidelines by among others accepting the spray in their structures without resistance.
One of the community members, Amina James at Mkopiti Village in TA Chimwala said the IRS has protected people in the community against malaria, bed bugs and other insects.
“Malaria cases have reduced since this project was introduced in our village, we are now seeing our children in school free from malaria,” she said, adding that most parents were no longer spending time in hospitals with their children due to malaria.
WVM with financial support from Global Fund in collaboration with the Ministry of Health is implementing the IRS programme in Balaka and Nkhatabay since 2019 to attain a ‘Zero Malaria Goal.’