IVCC in the Indo-Pacific: Delivering through Partnerships
On Friday 21st August, APLMA will hold the second of its Malaria Gamechangers roundtable series. It focusses this time on vector control and is co-sponsored by IVCC and RBM Partnership to End Malaria. The roundtable aims to engage senior policy-makers across the Indo-Pacific in exploring some of the new and existing vector control products that will be vital to achieving malaria elimination in the region by 2030.
The panel will also focus on the regulatory hurdles, as outlined in IVCC’s Regulatory Landscape Report, that must be negotiated swiftly if these products are to have the desired impact. Vasanthan John Paul, the author of the report and IVCC’s regulatory consultant, will join the panel to speak on regulatory issues and opportunities for improved access to vector control solutions.
On the panel, there will also be a number of representatives from companies that IVCC has enjoyed successful partnerships with for many years, such as Bayer Cropscience and Sumitomo Chemical Company. There will also be speakers from organisations and countries with whom it is important we strengthen our relationships in order to maximise the impact of our work in the region. Our co-sponsoring of the roundtable is itself also a small example of where we have been forging new relationships and collaborations, as we seek to strengthen our network in support of the Indo-Pacific Initiative (IPI), funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
IPI’s overall aim is to develop a vector control toolbox for the Indo-Pacific region. We are approaching this by focussing primarily on tools for malaria control in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia. In PNG, we are working with the PNG Institute of Medical Research, Burnet Institute and James Cook University, to develop the capacity in PNG for testing new tools, build a national vector control stakeholder network and test products in the community. The priority product categories for testing in PNG are Indoor Residual Spraying (including eaves and verandas), Spatial Repellents and Larvicides. In Cambodia and Thailand, we are working with a partnership led by University of California, San Francisco-Malaria Elimination Initiative, involving CNM, AFRIMS and Kasetsart University amongst others, to evaluate Forest Packs as a means of delivering effective bite prevention tools (Insecticide Treated Clothing, Spatial Repellent and Topical Repellent) to forest-going populations. To support these two main areas of work, we are also partnering with Imperial College London to model the potential impact of new new tools on malaria in the region.
IPI is guided by an Advisory Group of experts based in the region or with significant experience therein. The Advisory Group is based on the principle of delivering through robust partnerships, and draws from IVCC’s trademark model for external expert engagement and scrutiny: the External Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC). IPI sits under Objective 7 of the IVCC strategy, which aims ‘to capitalise on knowledge and innovation to address malaria and other vector borne diseases outside sub-Saharan Africa in order to maximise the impact of our work and the products being developed’. Now more than ever, if we are to expand our activity into new geographies with little ‘on the ground’ presence, we are reliant on networking and forging strong partnerships. Add the myriad ramifications of Covid-19 into the mix- not least restricted travel- and it becomes even more important to have trusted collaborations through which to deliver.
As IPI ramps up, IVCC further explicates its strategic approach to the Indo-Pacific region and new opportunities arise elsewhere, we will need to continue to think realistically about what IVCC can deliver and what is best done by partners. We are fortunate in these considerations that IVCC has always recognised the importance of delivering through strong partnerships and that this is built into the way that we operate.
If IVCC is to achieve its vision of ‘saving lives, protecting health and increasing prosperity by preventing insect-borne disease’, and if success is to be seen more widely across the vector control community in the fight against insect-borne disease, it is clear that success will depend on the strength of working with the right people, at the right time and via the right kind of collaborations.