Fights malaria mosquitoes from Norway

Norwegian University of Life Sciences is to receive NOK 16 million for testing malaria mosquito nets in Africa.

Fights malaria mosquitoes from norway

A very torn net.
A very torn net. Photo: Albert Kilian
Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) are the current first line choice in malaria vector control in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with most countries adopting universal coverage campaigns with free or subsidised nets. However, there is only limited knowledge from few countries of the effective life of LLINs under user conditions, an essential parameter for determining the operational and cost-effectiveness of this strategy.
Hans J. Overgaard
Hans J. Overgaard Photo: Priv

Hans J. Overgaard, researcher at IMT and probably the only medical entomologist in Norway, leads the project to be implemented in Tanzania in the next five years.

- There are many different types of impregnated mosquito nets on the market. These are made of different materials, impregnated with different kinds of insecticides, different methods of impregnation, and the claims of the lifespan and duration of nets vary. It is important to inform decision makers of best practices for maintaining high and cost-effective net coverage to maximize current gains in malaria control. This will facilitate for the national malaria control programs to plan when old nets should be replaced and new nets procured, says Overgaard.

Kartet syner kor prosjektet skal gjennomfrast.
Kartet syner kor prosjektet skal gjennomfrast. Photo: Illustrasjon
Started in January
The project is collaboration between three partners in Tanzania, the National Malaria Control Program, the National Institute of Medical Research, Ifakara Health Institute, and one partner in the UK, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The project officially began with a kickoff workshop in January 21-23, 2013 in Bagamoyo, Tanzania.

- This study investigates LLIN effectiveness by measuring attrition (presence/absence), bio efficacy, chemical content and physical degradation in Tanzania. The project will be carried out in 10 representative districts in the country, reflecting malaria prevalence, ecology, altitude, inland/coastal, and urban/rural areas. In each district 10 villages will be selected and in each village 45 households, explains Overgaard.

He continues.

- We will use a two-stage approach: Firstly, LLINs from recent net campaigns will be evaluated retrospectively. The sampled households will then be provided with one of three leading LLIN products and followed up for three years in a prospective study to compare the performance of the LLIN brands in vivo. We will also develop a GIS-based network to understand potential spatial reasons for net loss and deterioration; to monitor insecticide resistance and to show malaria incidence data collected from local health centers and national surveys.

Could make a difference
- We are bringing together a highly skilled multi-disciplinary team that will support Tanzanian vector control both now and in the future through the training of two Tanzanian PhD students. We are the first team to conduct a geographically representative study of LLIN use and efficacy using WHO-recommended methodologies and large sample sizes determined by robust statistical methods with independent data quality assurance, says Overgaard.

The data collected will be of importance to policy makers and vector control specialists both in Tanzania and the SSA region.

Published 2. September 2014 - 10:20 - Updated 23. May 2017 - 19:34