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Experiences of vector control 2

ANTHONIO NKONDJIO: My name is Anthonio Nkondjio. I’m a medical entomologist working at OCEAC, a sub-regional research institution in Cameroon. I’m working on vector binomic and vector control. I’m also actually conducting a larviciding trial in the city of Yaoundé to control malaria transmission. So in my country, countries which are supporting these initiatives are the Global Fund, the World Bank, you have the Gates Foundation. You have the corporation from the Great Britain, America with PMI and CDC Atlanta, the French corporation, and the German corporation, which are all supporting this incentive.
But at the global level, I think you have the Wellcome Trust, the Gates Foundation, The World Bank, the– you also have the British Foundation, the European Union and there are many of these which are really supporting at the global level. So to do this, I think there is a need to train entomologists at different level– at the research level, technical level technician, laboratory and also, these entomologists need to be– to work on different diseases, not just on one disease. And there is also a need for us to sensitise the government, local government, for the need for them to support this type of initiative, training initiative, which will be very important for disease elimination in the country.
And it’s also very important for us to make sure that there is enough funds to carry out these type of activities. In my country, most of research activities which are being done are supported by external funders such as the WHO, the Gates, and the Wellcome Trust. And for these activities, we– they come to address a certain number of questions. So the government is not putting in more money for this. So it is not given the priority of the government are not always respected in the activities which are being conducted on the field. Research partnerships are very important. They are key in activities we conduct. They are key because a true partnership, can benefit from your partner, equipment from your partners.
You can strengthen capacity through the training of your student and all this. You can also benefit, because you can write collaborative proposal to have more fund in order to carry a certain number of activities. So they are very important. So what makes the research partnership very, maybe, successful or makes it successful? I think it is respect at the first instance– respect, consideration, hard working, good management of fund. There is also publication and good communication coming out from the project, which make it very successful. And what could be the failure of this research, this collaboration or this partnership.
Failure will come from the fact that there is disrespect, there is a lack of consideration, there is lack of humility, there is mismanagement, laziness, lack of good work and I think all these will make that– a partnership will not work, it will not last long. A country coordinator is someone who is working within the programme, coordinating the programme within the country in order to control, maybe, a disease or to work on certain number of aspects.
And this person has to manage the programme, bring in authority from the country to understand what is taking place, communicate with these people; and also who is accountable of the good management of the programme; who is also conducting a certain number of activities which will also promote not just the programme but also the country and partners which are involved in this initiative. So key tooling gaps for me, I would start first by the fact that we need integrated vector control. And most of the entomologists that are working are mainly specialised in one disease. And there is a need for us to have people who can work on many diseases at a time.
So there is a need for us to start strengthening capacity of medical entomologists, for them to be able to carry out or to manage integrated vector control programme on the field. This is one. And then concerning process of samples of all this, we need people who can also– who have to be capacitated in rolling out new molecular techniques such as next generation sequencing, all these new techniques that are coming in. That could be really essential for us to address certain number of question, research question, and also to permit us to achieve the elimination of vector borne diseases. And thirdly, I think there is also a need for us to have a comprehensive knowledge of work that have been done.
So people need to be trained on that analysis and all this. So this is also we a key area that I think will be very important. And because we are putting in place control strategy on the field, I think there is also a need to train people on the epidemiology so that they can coordinate programme, and they can be really well skilled in doing these type of activities. PVEC is a programme who just started in 2017. And it has done much, very, very interesting things on the field, because it has brought together people who were not talking to one another since long. For example, there are researchers working on one side, there are administrative personnel also working the other side.
And they were not talking to each other. And so PVEC is bringing out these people responsible of different programmes and putting them together in order to talk and look at ways for controlling a certain number of diseases. And this is now working in Cameroon because you have these regular meetings bringing together people from different areas and which are also doing planification for controlling diseases. And another aspect of PVEC which is really important is the fact that they are also bringing in support for priority research domain that need to be conducted.
For example, they give recently a grant to people who are supposed to work with the National Malaria Control Programme or different control Programme, to carry out specific research activities that will help the Programme to understand how they can put in place a certain number of the activities. I think we need to make these type of initiatives sustainable, and also bring in new incentive that could support this and make sure that we have a structure in place which would permit us to achieve the elimination of disease. So concerning emerging vector borne diseases, I think success will attract more funding, because they will see– people would see it is a Programme which is working very well.
People are serious, people are getting good result, because they are putting in all effort to achieve this. Why failure? Could be due to many factors– laziness, mismanagement, conflict. And also, technical programme could be responsible for failure. So this would not make people more interested in putting in funding and also supporting this type of Programme. So it is very important when there is failure to really explain to people, to the community to fund us, where this failure come from, and if it’s not due to mismanagement or any other factors which is affecting the Programme, so for these people to know. When this knowledge is passed on, they will be much more interested in providing their support to the Programme.
And I think this will make things work better.

In this second video, we are joined by Dr Antonio Nkondjio of the Organization of Coordination for the Fight against Endemic Diseases in Central Africa (OCEAC), based in Cameroon. In this interview, we will learn about his first-hand experiences of life and vector control in a disease endemic area. Dr Nkondjio has many similar as well as different experiences from Dr Mugenyi who we heard from in the previous steps, showing how vector control can vary from country to country.

We would love to hear about your own experiences of vector control in the comments section.

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The Global Challenge of Vector Borne Diseases and How to Control Them

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