The US government is expanding its Indoor Residual Spraying, IRS, program to combat malaria in 14 African countries.
The three-year-$189 million new IRS contract, which is a malaria initiative of the US President is led by the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, and implemented together with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.
The USAID said in a statement on August 17, 2011, “The $189 million, three-year contract awarded by USAID to Abt. Associates will cover the implementation of IRS activities in Ghana, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, with the possibility of expansion based on malaria control needs and availability of resources.”
Malaria hurts African economies so much that it loses $12 billion every year to malaria-related illnesses and mortality. In most affected countries, the disease crosses class lines. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor – your chances of catching it are high.
The program involves the application of safe insecticides to the indoor walls and ceilings of homes or structures in order to interrupt the spread of malaria by killing mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite.
It also consists the provision of technical and financial support to the Ministries of Health and National Malaria Control Programs in African countries to build country-level capacity for malaria prevention activities.
The Agency noted that its activities include assessing the environment to ensure safe and effective use of insecticides, evaluating mosquito abundance and susceptibility to the insecticides, educating residents about IRS and how they should prepare their house for spraying, training spray teams, procuring insecticide and equipment, and monitoring and evaluating spraying activities.
Meanwhile, Global malaria deaths have fallen from about 985,000 in 2000 to about 781,000 in 2009 but in spite of this progress, malaria remains one of the major public health problems in sub-Saharan Africa leading the cause of death for children under five, it indicated citing estimates from the World Health Organization.