Now at its halfway point, the five-year project is yielding very encouraging results. Malaria prevention for pregnant women is way up, and prenatal care is increasing or holding steady in the four participating countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique and Nigeria.
“During the first phase of the project we worked hard to promote TIPTOP, through community leaders, project launches, and so forth,” said Kristen Vibbert, senior program officer at Jhpiego, an international nonprofit organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. “So the pregnant women in the TIPTOP countries are not surprised at all when the community health workers knock on their doors.”
TIPTOP has increased antimalaria coverage in pregnancy 74 percent on average across the four countries and is on track to reach 100,000 pregnant women. But the project aspires to make a much broader impact. It is gathering evidence that could lead the World Health Organization to update its policy on malaria prevention for pregnant women. TIPTOP promotes a new model that involves community outreach. They call it a “no missed opportunities” approach.
“A policy change would have a monumental impact on maternal and newborn health,” said Elaine Roman, TIPTOP project director. “It would be a game-changer in sub-Saharan Africa, as women will have more opportunities to get the right medicines, at the right time, and right in their own communities.”
TIPTOP countries are positioning themselves to move into the project’s second phase, which is set to start in November. Plans are to expand TIPTOP to include two new districts in each country. To mark the milestone, Jhpiego today released a short film about progress thus far:
To hear an in-depth conversation about TIPTOP and malaria in pregnancy, listen to Voice of America’s Health Chat host Linord Moudou interview Jhpiego’s Elaine Roman:
To learn about Unitaid’s role in TIPTOP, click here.
New-generation insecticides take their rightful place in the malaria toolbox
Unitaid’s four-year project on new-generation insecticides wraps up December, having clearly proved the worth of innovative sprays in helping protect African communities from malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Launched in 2016, the NgenIRS project was Unitaid’s first foray into vector control. Liverpool-based IVCC and partners are implementing the project, whose aim is to bring new, long-lasting indoor insecticides that can kill the robust and wily mosquito populations that have become impervious to older insecticides. Sixteen countries have participated.
Before the project began, only one long-lasting indoor spray was available that could still kill these extra-tough mosquitoes, and it was too expensive for many countries to afford. As a result, indoor spraying had declined or disappeared altogether, although it had once been effective and well-accepted.
It seemed that an important malaria tool was on the verge of extinction.
“When the project started, it was actually uncertain if there was going to be a future for IRS (indoor residual spraying). Was there even going to be a marketplace?” said Christen Fornadel, technical coordinator at IVCC. “But then in comes the NGenIRS project and—long story short—today we’ve got prices reduced from over $23 down to around $15, a more stable market, more countries adding IRS, and IRS having expanded to three products for countries to choose from. I think by any of those indicators we’ve been successful.”
The next step, Fornadel said, will be to decide how long-lasting indoor spraying can best work with other established methods, and with coming innovations, in an integrated vector-management system.