The RBM Partnership to End Malaria’s Vector Control Working Group meeting

Posted 17th February 2023 by Dr. Samantha O'Loughlin

The RBM Partnership to End Malaria’s 18th meeting of the Vector Control Working Group (VCWG) was held in Accra, Ghana from the 6th of February to the 8th of February. 

This was a historic meeting of the VCWG as it was the first one to be held in a malaria endemic country. Almost 300 people were gathered in Accra, mainly from academic institutes, chemical companies, and national malaria control programs.

The working group is convened by RBM to share knowledge of new and existing mosquito control tools, to enable partners to make strategic plans for vector control.  

It was refreshing to hear talks and discussions that went well beyond research and development to questions of on-the-ground practicalities of vector control, such as distribution, durability (bed nets), dosage (insecticide spraying) and financing. Much of the focus is currently on the design of new insecticide treated bed nets to mitigate against the spread of insecticide resistance. Another focus of the meeting was the challenge posed by the increasing invasion of Anopheles stephensi into Africa. Oxitec presented the work they are doing to develop a genetically modified An. stephensi like their ‘Friendly Aedes’, which they hope will be taken up by vector control programs in the Horn of Africa.  

Across the three days of the meeting there was an emphasis on the need for more local ownership of vector control and for integrated control strategies that are tailored to local needs. There was also acknowledgment that new tools are needed in the journey towards malaria elimination. As Dr Corine Ngufor, co-chair of the working group stated, ‘we need to get rid of the hurdles for innovation’.