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  • Swiss TPH

The Resistant Mosquito: Staying Ahead of the Game in the Fight against Malaria

Discover approaches and advances in our fight against the malaria mosquito using Insecticide Resistance Management (IRM).

1,381 enrolled on this course

A blood-fed mosquito flying in front of a brown background.
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Learn how insecticide resistance impacts infection prevention and control

Nearly half of the world’s population continues to be at risk of contracting malaria, with over 241 million cases in 2020 alone.

On this three-week course, you’ll examine the rise of insecticide resistant mosquitoes and the resultant need for a new approach in the world’s fight against malaria transmittance.

Guided by experts from the Swiss TPH, a world-leading institute in global health, you’ll investigate Insecticide Resistance Management as a response to these challenges and effective integration into vector control programs.

Explore vector control, insecticides, and insecticide resistance (IR)

From insecticide-treated mosquito nets to drug access, you’ll learn about the remarkable progress that has been made over the past two decades in malaria prevention.

Using case studies, you’ll identify how the mosquito’s adaptability has impacted current measures, allowing you to explain why malaria continues to be a threat.

Examine the global response to malaria vector control

You’ll explore the causes and consequences of IR, from agricultural insecticide use to cross-resistance. You’ll then learn why surveillance and monitoring of species is key to designing vector control programs.

Using this knowledge, you’ll be able to discuss the challenges of effective vector control design.

Discover Insecticide Resistance Management and steps towards malaria eradication

Bringing your learning together, you’ll assess and identify practical steps towards implementing Insecticide Resistance Management and its integration into large vector control programs.

You’ll finish this course being able to explain IR and its effect on malaria prevention. You’ll also be able to discuss strategies for mosquito control and malaria eradication using IRM.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Mosquitoes – tiny creatures with a huge impact. Mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting diseases such as Dengue fever, Chikungunya and Zika.

Skip to 0 minutes and 24 seconds They also transmit one of the most deadly diseases of them all: malaria.

Skip to 0 minutes and 34 seconds Malaria has been the scourge of humanity for too long. But great progress has been made over the last century in reducing the burden of this terrible disease. Yet as recently as 2019, there were still 229 million cases of malaria globally. Why is this, and what can we do about it? How can we stay ahead of the game in the fight against malaria? To find answers, we need to explore malaria vector control from different perspectives.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds In this course, we will investigate insecticide resistance: Insecticide resistance is a long- standing and increasing problem for insect pest control in both agriculture and public health. Insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying are highly effective approaches to prevent malaria transmission. If resistance isn’t expertly managed, the existing tools will lose their effectiveness, leaving at-risk populations vulnerable to malaria.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds We will discuss the history of malaria vector control: The WHO set up the Global Malaria Eradication Program in 1955.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds The ensuing years saw the development of new insecticides: the organophosphates in the 1950s, the carbamates in the 1960s, and the pyrethroids in the 1970s. We will explore the theory and practice of Insecticide Resistance Management.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds To illustrate in-the-field strategies and the benefits of fighting insecticide resistance, we will explore case studies in Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Sri Lanka. My name is Keziah Malm, and I am Fredros Okumu. We would like you to come on a journey with us. Join experts from around the world to look more closely at the threat of insecticide resistance, what is causing it, and what can be done to keep us on track towards our ultimate goal of eliminating malaria.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to vector control, insecticides and insecticide resistance

    • Join the campaign against malaria

      Welcome to the fictional setting of Nsuhyia. Get an introduction to why it is still so important to control the mosquitoes that transmit the Plasmodium that cause malaria.

    • Mosquitoes, the vectors of malaria

      Read, watch and discuss the background and impact of malaria, as well as the history of its control.

    • Insecticides, a valuable tool for mosquito control

      Get an introduction to insecticides and the biology of mosquitoes. Discover how insecticide-based interventions can be effectively used to control mosquitoes, and therefore malaria and other vector-borne diseases.

    • Insecticide resistance

      Delve into the background and use of insecticide-based interventions for mosquito vector control. Discover how their effectiveness can decline if mosquitoes become resistant, highlighting the need to manage this resistance.

    • Wrap-up

      Take a quiz on the role of insecticides in malaria vector control and watch Keziah L. Malm and Fredros Okumu revisit Nsuhyia.

  • Week 2

    The insecticide-resistant mosquito

    • The case for managing insecticide resistance

      Reflect on the dilemmas arising from the use of insecticides in vector control. Explore the global response to malaria vector control and the value of Insecticide Resistance Management. Read about a case study from Tanzania.

    • Insecticide resistance: mechanisms, evolution and selection

      Explore the mechanisms of insecticide resistance and the theory of selection. Identify the sources of selection pressure.

    • Consequences and responses in vector control

      There are consequences when mosquito vectors develop insecticide resistance. Mitigating these requires vision, collaboration and partnership, as well as an appreciation of the value of susceptibility.

    • Surveillance and monitoring

      To identify the best way to control mosquito vectors, it is important to identify and characterise whether they are resistant to given insecticide mode of action classes. There is also value in sharing this information.

    • Wrap-up

      Take a quiz on the insecticide-resistant mosquito and read a summary of the learnings from Week 2.

  • Week 3

    Insecticide Resistance Management from theory to practice

    • Implementing Insecticide Resistance Management

      Investigate and discuss theoretical and practical approaches to Insecticide Resistance Management.

    • Integrated vector management

      Assess the challenges faced by vector-borne disease prevention and control programmes. Explore what advantages an integrated approach to vector control can offer.

    • Looking forward to malaria elimination

      Reflect on the status of malaria elimination in Sri Lanka and Zambia. Discuss Insecticide Resistance Management with your peers.

    • Wrap-up

      Assess the benefits of integrated approaches to vector control. Watch Keziah L. Malm and Fredros Okumu summarise this course’s insights into integrated approaches to Insecticide Resistance Management and malaria vector control.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the concept of insecticide resistance (IR), and how it develops in a mosquito population.
  • Evaluate the impact of insecticide resistance on malaria vector control and the importance of managing it.
  • Investigate the principles of applied Insecticide Resistance Management (IRM).
  • Identify IRM as an essential and integral component of vector control activities to reduce the burden of, eliminate, and eventually eradicate malaria.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone involved in mosquito vector control as well as students and scholars of Public Health, One Health, Entomology, Epidemiology, or Evolutionary Biology..

It will also appeal to the general public interested in malaria elimination, vector-borne diseases and mosquito control.

Who will you learn with?

As a public health physician specialized in epidemiology with a career devoted to malaria, I currently lead the strategic direction and planning for all malaria control interventions in Ghana.

I am a Scientific Project Leader with a particular interest in capacity building and teaching & training.

I am a Public Health entomologist with a particular interest in integrated mosquito vector control and insecticide resistance management. When I'm not working with mosquitoes I enjoy cycling.

Who developed the course?

University of Basel

The University of Basel has an international reputation of outstanding achievements in research and teaching.

Swiss TPH

The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) is an associated institute of the University of Basel. It is a world-leading institute in global health, combining research, education and services at local, national and international levels. Over 800 people from 80 nations work at the Swiss TPH, focusing on infectious and non-communicable diseases, environment, society and health as well as health systems and interventions.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by

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