Malaria control: the power of integrated action

International agencies and IVM

The IVM approach has been embraced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO, as well as by other partners and countries. UNEP – which administers the secretariat for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) – is developing IVM plans, programmes, and strategies together with WHO, with the aim of reducing reliance on POPs in developing countries. WHO has recently designed a Global Strategic Framework for Integrated Vector Management (1), as well as preliminary Guidelines for Integrated Vector Management (2), and is in the process of developing a Global Strategic Plan for IVM implementation.

Roll Back Malaria (RBM) – a global partnership among WHO, development agencies, banks, the private sector and NGOs – has placed renewed emphasis on malaria control, as compared to eradication. A central feature of RBM is the strengthening of local capacities and local health systems to deal with malaria.

The Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UNEP, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and WHO, have issued guidance on alternative strategies for sustainable pest and vector management to help reduce the use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (42). A menu of options for the best-practice design of dams and agricultural irrigation projects to control vector breeding sites, while minimizing the disruption to ecosystem services, has been detailed in the joint WHO/FAO/UNEP/UNCHS Panel of Experts on Environmental Management for Vector Control (PEEM) series (29,43,44).

In Africa, approximately ten countries are now implementing IVM action plans. In other regions of the world, various countries are moving towards the development of strategic plans and action plans. The Global Environment Facility has provided grants to various WHO Regional Offices to develop IVM projects at the country level. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has established an IVM project in Washington, DC. In addition, workshops to build capacity for sustainable approaches to pest management and vector management are periodically staged under the joint auspices of FAO, UNEP, and WHO (45).

However, international, multilateral, and bilateral development agencies also remain divided by sectors, as do national governments. Supporting and funding IVM programmes and practices will demand continual intersectoral bridge-building at the international level, as well as within countries.