Print

New initiative launched to boost malaria control and combat insecticide resistance

28 September, 2016

KIGALI, Rwanda – At a ceremony in Kigali UNITAID and IVCC officially launched an ambitious project to fight malaria across Africa by encouraging increased spraying of people’s homes with effective new insecticides. Despite its effectiveness in combating malaria, indoor spraying of walls has fallen by 40 per cent in the past four years due to increased resistance of mosquitoes to older products and higher cost of new alternatives.

Spraying the eaves and inside walls of homes with insecticides is an effective way to kill mosquitoes, but over time mosquitoes develop resistance to the insecticides they come into contact with, thereby blunting their effectiveness. A new generation of insecticides is needed to combat this growing insecticide resistance.

The $65.1 million NgenIRS (Next generation indoor residual spray) project has partnered with the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, Abt Associates, PATH and the Global Fund to work with industry and country malaria-control programmes to make alternative insecticides with high efficacy more readily available in countries with a high malaria burden.

“The use of new insecticides urgently needs to be ramped up. Otherwise we run the risk of considerable reversals in the fight against malaria, with unabated insecticide resistance potentially costing 120,000 more deaths a year,” said Robert Matiru, UNITAID’s Head of Operations. 

Over four years, the project aims to protect as many as 50 million people in up to 20 African countries from malaria. A longer-term aim of the project is to reduce the cost of procuring products through improved forecasting and increased competition among insecticide manufacturers.  

“Recent evidence has shown that insecticides are one of the first lines of defence against malaria, responsible for nearly 80 per cent of malaria cases averted since 2000,” said Nick Hamon, CEO of IVCC, adding that the project would help maintain the effectiveness of vector control and encourage competition as prices decrease and demand grows. “We are working with our industry partners to bring to market as soon as possible novel insecticides that are in the pipeline.”

Representatives of NgenIRS partner Malaria Control Programs and Health Ministries from at least 10 African countries; representatives of UNITAID, IVCC/NgenIRS, insecticide manufacturers, and other partners and stakeholders attended the launch event, co-hosted by the Rwandan Ministry of Health.The project uses a co-payment from UNITAID to bring down the price of new and more effective products, enabling countries where malaria is endemic to use them to spray inside walls of homes and fight growing insecticide resistance. 

Gerald Muzungu, the mayor of Kirehe, a district of 340,000 inhabitants in eastern Rwanda, said that malaria cases had soared from 5,000 cases a year to 45,000 cases after spraying of homes in the district was halted in 2014. Resumption of spraying, with the help of funding from UNITAID, has since led to a sharp fall in cases in 2016. “The evidence shows that spraying works,” Muzungu told a delegation of visitors on Monday.

Since the NgenIRS project started work in January 2016 approximately 2.48 million people have been protected by a spraying campaign in Ethiopia and Mali, nearly 1 million more than would have been possible without the UNITAID co-payments. 

UNITAID IVCC New initiative launched to boost malaria control and combat insecticide resistanceIn 2017, in partnership with programs funded by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund, NgenIRS is expected to protect approximately 19.8 million people in 12 countries, up from the current 14 million in 4 countries. Further new and more effective insecticides will be introduced in 2017-18 to enhance market competition and provide countries with options to rotate insecticides as part of their management strategies.

The official launch event in Kigali was timed to coincide with an indoor residual spray campaign funded by the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative that is underway in Rwanda.

Communiqués de presse en français: Lancement de la nouvelle initiative pour renforcer la lutte contre le paludisme et combattre la résistance aux insecticides 


About UNITAID

UNITAID is engaged in finding new ways to prevent, treat and diagnose HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, more affordably and more effectively.  It takes game-changing ideas and turns them into practical solutions that can help accelerate the end of the three diseases. Established in 2006 by Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom to provide an innovative approach to global health, UNITAID plays an important part in the global effort to defeat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, by facilitating and speeding up the availability of improved health tools, including medicines and diagnostics.

About IVCC (Innovative Vector Control Consortium)

IVCC is a not-for-profit public-private partnership that was established as a charity in 2005. Our mission is to save lives, protect health and increase prosperity in areas where disease transmitted by insects is endemic. We bring together the best minds to create new solutions to prevent disease transmission. By focusing resources and targeting practical scientific solutions we accelerate the process from innovation to impact.