I am an Individual Investigator for the PMI “Durability and Insecticide Persistence in Long-Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets (LLINs) Study”, in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Population Services International’s Malaria and Child Survival Program, and Peace Corps. Peace Corps and PMI Zambia have a very strong relationship and the enthusiasm and collaboration between the two has allowed Stomp Zambia to grow quickly, and has made my work truly enjoyable. To my knowledge, we are the first Peace Corps country to be involved in a CDC/PMI research study regarding malaria control and LLINs.
The study design and concept came from research conducted in 2010 regarding high parasitemia levels in children in two provinces in Zambia. In February 2011, approximately 2 million nets were purchased and distributed among the two provinces. However, through observation and research studies, the international development and public health community realized that some mosquito nets are not lasting as long as the manufacture forecast them to last. Therefore, the National Malaria Control Program in Zambia was seeking to collect data on bed net longevity. Under the direction of NMCP, PMI and Peace Corps/Zambia launched a bed net longevity study to assess the durability of the bed nets being distributed through the country. The study utilizes 38 Peace Corps Volunteers and their 38 local Counterparts as Village Research Assistants. Each PCV and his/her counter visit 25 households (totaling a sample size of 1,000 nets) to conduct a survey which was developed from the WHO approved questionnaires on the durability and insecticide persistence of the two type nets (Permanents and Olyset). The results will help to better forecast when future mass net distributions are needed.
The training and first round of data collection happened in March and April of 2012. The data collection period is expected to continue through April 2014. Currently, I am analyzing the data from the questionnaires and working with PMI and the CDC on testing the insecticide levels on the 38 nets we collected from the households (we replaced the nets we took for the study). We hope to write an abstract and share the results within a few months of the first round of findings.