Lagos State government pilot Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS)

Lagos State government has began the pilot scheme of the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in two high malaria burden areas within Ikorodu Local Government and Otto-Awori Local Council Development Areas.
Lagos State Government has began the pilot scheme of the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in two high malaria burden areas within the Ikorodu Local Government and Otto-Awori Local Council Development Areas of the state, Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris has disclosed.

Idris who noted that the IRS is the application of safe and effective chemical/insecticide on walls and ceilings of houses to kill mosquitoes and other harmful insects explained that Abule Era, Era, Ketu, IIogbo Elegba communities in the Otto-Awori Local Council Development Area and Imota in the Ikorodu Local Governmnet Area would all be administered with the indoor residual spraying in the 10-day exercise.

He opined that following a rigororous selection process, the two councils were chosen based on criteria that include high malaria burden, rural urabanization, mass deployment of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets and community acceptance and involvement in prevous interventions.

The Commissioner noted that the cosmopolitan nature of the state coupled with the abundant distribution of coastal areas encourages the development of stagnant water responsible for the breeding of anopheles mosquito, a situation that contributes to the stable pattern and continuous transmission of malaria all year round.

Said he, “the previous malaria control interventions focused mainly on the treatment of malaria cases in all age groups, promotion of the use of insecticide treated bed nets and the provision of Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy. Morbidity and mortality trend of malaria cases continue to worsen due to the spread of Chloroquine resistant strains of plasmodium, crumbling infrastructure of Primary Healthcare Centres and poor utilization of insecticide treated bed nets. The malaria surveillance reports as summarised in the annual Integrated Diseases Surveillance and Response indicated that the previous malaria control interventions did not show significant impact as the prevalence of malaria cases continues to rise.”

According to him, this unacceptable scenario made the governor to order a further control of the malaria scourge by encouraging malaria researches both basic and applied using the results for evidence-based programming hence major stakeholders from the Universities, Colleges of Medicine, Research Institutions, Development Partners, Ministries and Parastasals were invited thus a Malaria Control Stakeholders/Research Committee was born.

He explained that the Committee was saddled with the responsibility of identifying strategies for tackling malaria scourge using research as a tool for malaria eradication; developing guidelines and protocols for the funding of research proposals; exploring possibilities of working with major stakeholders in public and private institutions; and determining priority action for the control of malaria in the state.

Idris opined that prior to the beginning of the IRS, government did the Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping of more than 40,000 target structures (rooms) in the selected communities in the two councils; done a baseline entomological study in four communities each in the two councils in order to generate information on mosquito behaviour and susceptibility to the different insecticides; done a baseline knowledge, attitude and practices of people on malaria prevention, control and treatment; done a baseline malaria prevalence survey to determine the burden of malaria parasites and haemoglobin status in children and adults; procured and distributed hudson sprayers, insecticides, protective wears and other equipments for the exercise; and trained 125 Spray operators and supervisors on Indoor Residual Spraying.

The Commissioner solicited the cooperation and support of the affected communites for the spraying team particularly on the need to allow them to enter their houses and spray just as he urged them to remove household items especially food stuffs, water, valuable items, cooking utensils among other before spraying.

Said he, “essentially the spraying targets the mosquitoes that transmit malaria which feed and rest inside houses especially on the walls. Members of the public need to ensure that their environment is free from clogged roof gutters; disused tyres; poorly drained flat roofs; plants hollow and cavities; abandoned wells and storage tanks; flower pot clay liner; uncovered septic tanks; and uncovered large body of fresh/salt water.”

Dr Idris urged members of the affected communities to stay outside of the houses for at least two hours after spraying to allow the insecticide to dry as well as sweep and mop the floor of their house after two hours before children and pets are allowed to re-enter the house.

“I wish to implore the affected communites to ensure that all persons, domestic animals and birds are also moved outside before spraying. Similary, they should collect dead insects and water used to mop the floor and pour them both in a pit latrine. You should also keep the spray card issued to your household in a safe place for easy reference,” Idris said.

He noted that the affected communities should not repaint or replaster their wall until after six months adding that the chemical used is not harmful to human beings but stressed the need for them to allow the insecticide to dry properly.

Malaria is highly endemic in Lagos State posing a major challenge to the State as it impedes human development. It is both a cause and consequence of underdevelopment and remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality especially among children and pregnant women.

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