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Addressing key gaps in implementation of mosquito larviciding to accelerate malaria vector control in southern Tanzania: results of a stakeholder engagement process in local district councils

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Salum A. Mapua, Marceline F. Finda, Ismail H. Nambunga, Betwel J. Msugupakulya, Kusirye Ukio, Prosper P. Chaki, Frederic Tripet, Ann H. Kelly, Nicola Christofides, Javier Lezaun, Fredros O. Okumu

Original languageEnglish
Article number123
JournalMalaria Journal
Issue number1
PublishedDec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study was supported by the Wellcome trust International Masters Fellowship in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (Grant No. 212633/Z/18/Z) awarded to SAM, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Grant Number: OPP1177156) and the ANTI-veC Network (Grant Number: AVPP0027/1) all held at Ifakara Health Institute. MF was also supported through a Consortium for Advanced Research Training grant awarded by Wellcome Trust (Grant No: 087547/Z/08/Z). FOO was also funded by Howard Hughes Medical institute (Grant number: OPP1099295). Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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Background: Larval source management was historically one of the most effective malaria control methods but is now widely deprioritized in Africa, where insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) are preferred. However, in Tanzania, following initial successes in urban Dar-es-Salaam starting early-2000s, the government now encourages larviciding in both rural and urban councils nationwide to complement other efforts; and a biolarvicide production-plant has been established outside the commercial capital. This study investigated key obstacles and opportunities relevant to effective rollout of larviciding for malaria control, with a focus on the meso-endemic region of Morogoro, southern Tanzania. Methods: Key-informants were interviewed to assess awareness and perceptions regarding larviciding among designated health officials (malaria focal persons, vector surveillance officers and ward health officers) in nine administrative councils (n = 27). Interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to assess awareness and perceptions of community members in selected areas regarding larviciding (n = 490). Thematic content analysis was done and descriptive statistics used to summarize the findings. Results: A majority of malaria control officials had participated in larviciding at least once over the previous three years. A majority of community members had neutral perceptions towards positive aspects of larviciding, but overall support for larviciding was high, although several challenges were expressed, notably: (i) insufficient knowledge for identifying relevant aquatic habitats of malaria vectors and applying larvicides, (ii) inadequate monitoring of programme effectiveness, (iii) limited financing, and (iv) lack of personal protective equipment. Although the key-informants reported sensitizing local communities, most community members were still unaware of larviciding and its potential. Conclusions: The larviciding programme was widely supported by both communities and malaria control officials, but there were gaps in technical knowledge, implementation and public engagement. To improve overall impact, it is important to: (i) intensify training efforts, particularly for identifying habitats of important vectors, (ii) adopt standard technical principles for applying larvicides or larval source management, (iii) improve financing for local implementation and (iv) improve public engagement to boost community awareness and participation. These lessons could also be valuable for other malaria endemic areas wishing to deploy larviciding for malaria control or elimination.

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