The 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) brought together tropical health specialists from around the world to meet in VectorWorks’ hometown: Baltimore, Maryland. At the Baltimore Convention Center, from November 4–9, the conference featured a tightly packed schedule that enabled colleagues to share new ideas and innovations, while debating and rethinking old ones. VectorWorks, a President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)-funded project, was busy throughout the week—we co-chaired a session, led a working lunch, and presented a variety of posters.
Project Director, Hannah Koenker, kicked off the conference on Monday morning by co-chairing the session Global Health: Burden, Epidemiology and Prevention of Febrile Illness and Malaria. Koenker’s talk, “Population access to ITN is a better indicator of ‘universal coverage’ than household ownership of at least 1 ITN for 2 people,” was well received. Koenker explained that many countries aim for 80% of households having access to an insecticide-treated net (ITN) and 80% of households having one ITN for every two people. She went on to say, however, that based on a study of 80 datasets from 37 African countries, when countries have 80% population access, only 65% have an ITN for every two people. This is driven mainly by large households, which often have some ITNs, protecting many (but not all) of their household members, but not enough to reach 1 ITN for 2 people. Koenker argued that population access to ITNs is a better indicator of ITN protection, because the unit of analysis measures people instead of households, and it should be used as the key indicator for universal coverage.
VectorWorks also hosted a lunch with ITN durability monitoring partners from around the globe; they discussed operational issues from the field and updated tools and guidance. ITN durability monitoring prospectively follows ITNs distributed during mass campaigns to determine their physical and insecticidal integrity over a three-year period. VectorWorks, with PMI, has played a leading role in drafting standardized durability monitoring protocols, templates, and tools; and has made them available to implementers via www.durabilitymonitoring.org. More than 50 principal investigators, PMI advisors, and implementing partners joined in the 90-minute lunch meeting to discuss newly developed guidelines for interpreting physical and insecticidal integrity results. Standardized processes have improved the quality of data collected and allow for comparability of ITN product performance across countries.
VectorWorks also presented eight posters at ASTMH’s annual meeting; to view them, click on the links below:
- Quantifying season patters of ITN use across climatic zones in sub-Saharan Africa
- Who buys nets? Factors associated with mosquito net purchase in sub-Saharan Africa
- Feasibility assessments for ITN continuous distribution in two settings: Kenya and Guinea
- Streamlining operations and reducing costs in school ITN distribution in Tanzania: 2013-2017
- Costs of continuous ITN distribution channels: a multi-country series
- Current practices in urban insecticide-treated net distribution across sub-Saharan Africa
- Climate change, poverty and hunger: Drivers behind the misuse of ITNs for fishing in Malawi
- Beneficial, neutral or harmful: categorizing the repurposing of mosquito nets in Malawi
The ASTMH annual meeting was a valuable opportunity for VectorWorks to share our programmatic work and research with people working in the fight against malaria worldwide and to learn from other experts doing innovative work.
Eric Filemyr is a Program Officer for the VectorWorks Project.