Challenges and Case for Change
Vector control tools have played a pivotal role in reducing the mortality and morbidity rates associated with many vector-borne diseases. From 2000 to 2013, malaria mortality rates fell by 47% worldwide and by 54% in the African region, where ~90% of global mortality from malaria occurs. Recent evidence shows that vector control is responsible for approximately 80% of malaria cases averted in the past 15 years. Vector control tools have also been instrumental in fighting other diseases, such as dengue, Human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis.
Despite these gains, vector-borne diseases continue to be one of the leading causes of mortality, especially among children under 5, across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Reducing the impact of these diseases, by achieving a malaria-free world and eliminating and controlling NTDs, is now a global priority. Vector control will play a critical role in sustaining the aforementioned gains and achieving global goals. However, the vector control community must address several challenges which stand in the way. First, resistance to commonly used insecticides has been reported in over 64 countries across Africa and Asia. Furthermore, coverage remains an issue; existing tools used in global health are designed to prevent indoor biting, leaving outdoor transmission as a critical gap in protection. The vector control community has been developing solutions for these issues. Yet, to fully address these challenges, system-wide issues must be addressed. Primarily, these challenges are:
- Greater incentives to spur further innovation.
- Improving the efficiency of product evaluation and registration to accelerate speed to market.
- Developing quality assurance systems to ensure the long-lasting impact of products in the field