The 70th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the 'Global Vector Control Response 2017–2030'.
UN Environment and partners launched the ‘Global Mosquito Alert'.
A design for low-cost housing in Africa to reduce malaria transmission, as well as dependence on DDT and other pesticides, was presented during the 2017 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions.
1 June 2017: The World Health Assembly, the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions and UN Environment (UNEP) have each announced initiatives on preventing the spread of mosquito-borne disease. The plans and platforms address vector control through a focus on improved urban housing and water and waste management, as well as information sharing.
A design for low-cost housing in Africa could greatly reduce malaria transmission, as well as dependence on DDT and other pesticides used to eradicate and control malaria, according to an expert who addressed the UN Chemicals and Waste Convention (the meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the BRS Conventions), which convened in Geneva, Switzerland, in April-May 2017. The proposed design, presented at the meetings, consists of replacing thatched roofs with tin roofs and producing doors and windows with proper screening. Since 80% of malaria transmission in Africa occurs in the home, improved low-cost housing should be part of an integrated strategy for reducing malaria and pesticide use, according to the expert, Steve Lindsay. He also called for building smarter cities, citing examples of poor urban planning that act as breeding grounds for malaria, including water storage in open containers, guttering where water collects, open drains and piles of waste.
Since 80% of malaria transmission in Africa occurs in the home, improved low-cost housing should be part of an integrated strategy for reducing malaria and pesticide use.
Another initiative, launched by UN Environment and partners, brings together thousands of scientists and volunteers undertaking efforts to combat mosquito-borne viruses such as Zika, yellow fever, chikungunya, dengue, malaria and the West Nile virus. The ‘Global Mosquito Alert,’ aims to help people share their observations and information with scientists, and to “leverage citizen science for the global surveillance and control of disease-carrying mosquitoes.” The platform provides real-time open data access to policymakers and the general public using distributed networks, cloud computing, big data and improved search functions. This data will supplement information already available from government and public health sources.
The 70th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) also addressed vector-borne disease, in adopting the ‘Global Vector Control Response 2017–2030,’ on 31 May 2017. The Response aims to: strengthen national capacities for implementing integrated vector management for disease prevention and control and responding to outbreaks; and overcome challenges related to poor vector control, poor housing and planning, and rapid population growth. The Response urges “aggressively pursuing” innovative interventions, including new insecticides, spatial repellents and odor-baited traps, improved house screening, and common bacterium development to stop virus replication in mosquitoes. It also urges countries to invest in a vector-control labor force trained in public health entomology and in healthcare responses tailored to local conditions; requires revamping vector control programmes, with increased technical capacity, improved infrastructure, strengthened monitoring and surveillance systems, and greater community mobilization.
These projects address the linkages between issues such as urban development and health, especially the role of sound water, sanitation and waste management in controlling the spread of mosquitoes and related disease. Their targeted outcomes could help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on: good health and well-being (SDG 3), including target 3.3 on ending the malaria epidemic; clean water and sanitation (SDG 6); sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); and responsible consumption and production (SDG 12). [UN Environment Press Release on Low-Cost Housing] [UN Press Release on Global Mosquito Alert] [Wilson Center Press Release on Global Mosquito Alert] [UN Press Release on Global Vector Control Response] [WHO Press Release on the Global Vector Control Response] [Draft Global Vector Control Response]