Vector control remains an effective and critical measure to prevent malaria transmission in Asia Pacific countries. However, programmatic and technical capacity in entomology and vector control represents a key gap in the necessary repertoire of elimination tools. In the Asia Pacific region, All 5 Plasmodium species are present, along with a large number of vector species (see Figure 1). Transmission settings range from forested areas along international borders in Thailand to densely populated urban areas in India. Unlike sub-Saharan Africa, the outdoor biting nature of some species of mosquitoes in the Asia Pacific means that vector control measures that are only focused on domestic settings—such as use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS)—may not be adequate in malaria elimination efforts.
Figure 1. The distribution of dominant malaria vectors in the Asia-Pacific region. Source: Sinke et al. A global map of dominant malaria vectors. Parasites & Vectors, 2012.
New technologies, and more targeted approaches that take local epidemiology into account, are required to address the unique transmission environments within the Asia Pacific region. Vector control approaches and methods also vary considerably in their applicability, cost and sustainability of their results. The need to review and identify effective and practical approaches to vector control in the region is a key focus for APMEN.
APMEN's Vector Control Working Group (VcWG) supports information exchange between vector control experts and national programmes of Asia Pacific countries, and identification of solutions to the challenges faced in the region. High priority challenges include insecticide resistance, larval source management, local vector surveillance, and improving the consistency and targeting of vector control interventions. The Working Group has supported a range of activities to build vector control capacity in the region, including providing training fellowships to vector control officers in priority areas, supporting community efficacy studies of interventions, and consolidating information on vector management practices in the region.
APMEN aims to strengthen entomological capacity and resources for vector control, and to consolidate approaches to address other vector-borne diseases, where appropriate. APMEN’s Vector Control Working Group (VcWG) has been supporting research, training and advocacy to address the vector control priorities of countries in the region. The VcWG’s objectives are:
- To advocate for the level of vector control capacity at regional and country level required to attain and maintain malaria elimination.
- To stimulate, and where possible coordinate, operational research to support the implementation of solutions to the unique vector control challenges faced by Asia Pacific countries.
- To review current vector control strategies, interventions and their effectiveness in various operational and epidemiological settings to:
- identify challenges for effective vector control implementation in different country programs; and
- establish what works, where—especially within vulnerable and mobile populations.