For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The collapse of the health system has left the people of Zimbabwe at great risk of contracting illnesses such as cholera, which claimed more than 3,400 lives, and increased the threat of a malaria epidemic.
To help mitigate a malaria outbreak, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting emergency indoor residual spraying to fill gaps in the country's traditionally strong malaria control program.
Timing is critical; in most years spraying should be completed by December. But Zimbabwe's national malaria program lacks the financial resources to achieve three quarters of its scheduled spraying, which would target 20 high-risk districts and protect more than 400,000 households.
To respond to the critical gap and avoid another catastrophic epidemic caused by the near collapse of Zimbabwe's health sector, USAID provided $200,000 in emergency funding, matched with £200,000 from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID). This accelerated program will apply the insecticide in February and March before the usual peak in cases in April and May. USAID and DFID coordinated the program with the World Health Organization and implementing partners John Snow International, Crown Agents, and PLAN International, which organized the operation's logistics, personnel, equipment, and management needs.
Indoor residual spraying applies a WHO-approved insecticide to the indoor walls, ceilings, and eaves of houses to kill or shorten the lifetime of mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite. Decades of experience have shown that timely and properly conducted spraying can have an immediate and dramatic impact on malaria transmission. Combined with the increased deployment of long-lasting insecticide-treated bednets, diagnostics, and drugs, indoor residual spraying will play a major role in reducing the risk of a malaria epidemic in Zimbabwe-and yet another burden in an already severe humanitarian crisis.
For more information about USAID's malaria programs visit: http://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/global-health/malaria and http://pmi.gov/.
Last updated: June 12, 2012