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Malar J. 2016 Mar 8;15:146. doi: 10.1186/s12936-016-1201-1.

Trends in US President's Malaria Initiative-funded indoor residual spray coverage and insecticide choice in sub-Saharan Africa (2008-2015): urgent need for affordable, long-lasting insecticides.

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Richard Oxborough Consultancy, London, UK.


This article reports the changing pattern of US President's Malaria Initiative-funded IRS in sub-Saharan Africa between 2008 and 2015. IRS coverage in sub-Saharan Africa increased from <2 % of the at-risk population in 2005, to 11 % or 78 million people in 2010, mainly as a result of increased funding from PMI. The scaling up of IRS coverage in sub-Saharan Africa has been successful in several epidemiological settings and contributed to reduced malaria transmission rates. However, the spread and intensification of pyrethroid resistance in malaria vectors led many control programmes to spray alternative insecticides. Between 2009 and 2013, pyrethroid spraying decreased from 87 % (13/15) of PMI-funded countries conducting IRS to 44 % (7/16), while bendiocarb use increased from 7 % (1/15) to 56 % (9/16). Long-lasting pirimiphos-methyl CS received WHOPES recommendation in 2013 and was scheduled to be sprayed in 85 % (11/13) of PMI-funded countries conducting IRS in 2015. The gradual replacement of relatively inexpensive pyrethroids, firstly with bendiocarb (carbamate) and subsequently with pirimiphos methyl CS (organophosphate), has contributed to the downscaling of most PMI-funded IRS programmes. Overall, there was a 53 % decrease in the number of structures sprayed between years of peak coverage and 2015, down from 9.04 million to 4.26 million structures. Sizeable reductions in the number of structures sprayed were reported in Madagascar (56 %, 576,320-254,986), Senegal (64 %, 306,916-111,201), Tanzania (68 %, 1,224,095-389,714) and Zambia (63 %, 1,300,000-482,077), while in Angola, Liberia and Malawi PMI-funded spraying was suspended. The most commonly cited reason was increased cost of pesticides, as vector resistance necessitated switching from pyrethroids to organophosphates. There are worrying preliminary reports of malaria resurgence following IRS withdrawal in parts of Benin, Tanzania and Uganda. The increase in malaria cases following the end of the Global Malaria Eradication Programme in 1969 highlights the fragility of such gains when control efforts are weakened. At present there are several countries reliant on organophosphates and carbamates for IRS, and increasing incipient resistance is a serious threat that could result in IRS no longer being viable. A portfolio of new cost-effective insecticides with different modes of action is urgently needed.

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