STRENGTHENING HEALTH SYSTEMS THROUGH OPERATIONAL RESEARCH
“The main method today to combat the disease is the impregnated mosquito nets. But it is not the only one: there is a whole arsenal of tools to fight against mosquitoes at different stages of their life” explains Cédric Pennetier, researcher at the Research Institute for Development and coordinator of the REACT project, implemented in partnership with the Pierre Richet Institute and the Institute for Research in Health Sciences.
For three and a half years (April 2016 to September 2019), researchers tested the effectiveness of four new vector control strategies, combined with the use of mosquito nets:
- Spraying insecticides on the walls of homes;
- Treating stagnant water and agricultural lowlands with larvicides;
- Injecting farm animals with ivermectin, a molecule that kills mosquitoes that bite treated animals;
- Raising awareness of populations on malaria modes of transmission.
At the end of the project, the Ivorian and Burkinabè national malaria control programs positioned themselves to integrate research findings and the resulting activities into their national strategic plans .
This research also made it possible to strengthen the knowledge and skills in epidemiology and entomology of the project stakeholders, as well as those of the health personnel and community health workers involved in the activities. It is this approach that the REACT 2 project, led by a consortium enriched with new skills in epidemiology and evaluation of health programs, has decided to build on.
Supported by L'Initiative, the objective of REACT 2 is to study at the community level in Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire the impact of setting up mobile medical and prevention teams working in consultation with community health workers in rural communities.
These mobile mechanisms should allow community health workers to be more valued and integrated into the primary health system, to be better trained, so that their activities fully comply with national recommendations, and to be supported where there are challenges, or they require direction or support. The end goal is to ensure efficient and rapid treatment of populations who are remote from care provision.