"The E8 has broken new ground with a world-first in this very workshop to harmonize IRS guidelines and training curricula… This is a truly noteworthy effort among the eight neighbouring member states and I am proud to say all partners have contributed towards in our various comparative advantages for progressive action to unite and defeat malaria."
- Dr. John Chimumbwa
Executive Director, SADC Malaria Elimination Eight Secretariat
The Elimination 8 Initiative (E8) is a coalition of eight countries working across national borders to eliminate malaria in southern Africa by 2030. Among other strategies, the E8 is working with key stakeholders to improve the delivery of vector control interventions. Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) is one of the major interventions prioritized by countries in an effort to move towards malaria elimination in the SADC region. However, recent consultations with E8 member states have shown that national IRS training curricula are not harmonized. This situation has inherently contributed to the observed variation in the impact of the intervention across countries in the region.
In the quest to achieve uniformity across IRS training programmes, the E8 Initiative, through its Secretariat and Vector Control Technical Working Group (VC TWG), working with technical support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop a harmonized and comprehensive regional IRS curriculum and training manual. Dr. Chadwick Sikaala, E8 Vector Control Specialist and Entomologist, has been coordinating these efforts across E8 countries aimed at achieving uniformity in IRS trainings, quality and timeliness of implementation as well as applying effective elements of integrated vector management and insecticide resistance management for optimal vector control application in the region.
The first Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop was held from 2 to 6 September 2019 hosted in Johannesburg by the South African Government as a member of the E8 partnership. Dr. Eunice Misiani, Deputy Director for Malaria and Other Vector-Borne Diseases in the South African Department of Health officially opened the gathering saying, “This workshop for IRS trainers of trainers is a huge step forward in support of harmonizing, synergizing and collaborating for IRS to become more efficient in its application within the current malaria program frameworks, and indeed beyond, into elimination settings where we must invest now for more skilled workforces, coordinated efforts and strategic action.” In his remarks, the Executive Director of the E8 Secretariat, Dr. John Chimumbwa, reminded countries, “The nature of the disease we have all come together to defeat, requires regional efforts and collaboration which is the key to unlock and sustain our malaria elimination aspirations.” Dr. Chimumbwa pointed out that the joint efforts towards harmonized IRS curricula for the eight neighboring member states is truly a noteworthy effort and a world first.
Following the workshop, E8 countries have been applying the regional training manual and curriculum as well as the Trainers of Trainers (TOT) workshop model. The TOT manual will be rolled out in a phased approach over 2019 and 2020, targeting E8 border districts and other districts where IRS is a priority intervention.