Syngenta teams up with Goodbye Malaria to rethink IRS in times of COVID-19

Global Communications

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect people all around the world, it is key not to lose sight of the ongoing challenge of malaria control.

Recently, Syngenta partnered with Goodbye Malaria to host a webinar on how these practices should be adapted to provide effective vector control and keep teams and communities safe from COVID-19. To take on these challenges, cooperation from many different individuals and organizations is necessary. The webinar provided an opportunity for thought leaders in the industry to come together and offer insights on what we can do collectively to adapt.

Ultimately, it’s essential that we do not lose sight of our vector control efforts while coping with COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new concerns and fears into the community, for example, people are more reluctant to allow spray teams into their homes for treatment.

However, we’re optimistic that the solutions our team and partners provided will help us navigate these uncertain times and bring us closer to our long-term goal of a malaria-free Africa.

The event has been moderated by Andy Bywater, Syngenta Global Head of Marketing Professional Pest Management and Vector Control and covered the following topics.

Overview of the E8 malaria upsurges and the impact of COVID-19
Dr. Chadwick Sikaala, vector control specialist and entomologist, Elimination 8 Initiative (E8)
Dr. Sikaala stressed the importance of intercountry coordination to procure resources that will allow them to support vector control while also implementing measures to control COVID-19 to meet the goal to rid the E8 countries of malaria by 2030.

Innovation in IRS spraying
Iñigo Garmendia, public health product manager, Goizper Spraying 
Garmendia provided updates on new equipment technology to help spray operators increase efficiency and accuracy when making vector control applications.

Safety measures for IRS sprayers
Dr. David Zinyengere, regional training, monitoring and evaluation manager, Syngenta
Dr. Zinyengere gave an overview of the safety measures being implemented to keep spray operators safe. These include full personal protective equipment (PPE), reduced team sizes and implementation of COVID-19 safety recommendations in the field.

New approaches in IRS planning and training
Francois Maartens, co-CEO, Goodbye Malaria
Maartens discussed the measures that need to be taken to ensure IRS can continue normally, including ordering IRS application equipment, insecticides and PPE early to account for any delays or shortages that may occur because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also training should be adapted under COVID-19 circumstances.

Spraying during the pandemic
Djenam Jacob, technical program manager, PMI VectorLink
Jacob provided an insightful look at how IRS implementation has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic including staggered schedules to reduce the number of workers in one place at one time.

Click below for the full webinar