Working Together with Partners to Expand the Evidence Base
The Mali story
In the last two years, NgenIRS has been working in close collaboration with a number of stakeholders in Mali to study the impact of IRS. The team’s first trip was conducted in September 2016 to introduce the NgenIRS evidence team, discuss current vector control/malaria landscape, review data sources and availability, prioritize research questions, and discuss study designs. The key partners in Mali include the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), the US President’s Malaria Initiative (funds IRS implementation in Mali), Africa Indoor Residual Spray Project (implements IRS in Mali), and the MEASURE Evaluation project (supporting NMCP on health information systems management and monitoring and evaluation activities). From the outset, all stakeholders were enthusiastic about the collaboration and expressed interest in conducting the IRS impact evaluations. Ideas, approaches, and data sets—including implementation and routine malaria surveillance data— were shared and the analysis process began. Two additional trips took place in 2018 to present preliminary analysis, review data gaps, and discuss future plans. During these visits, the NgenIRS team received feedback from NMCP, PMI, and MEASURE Evaluation and the analysis was refined and additional research questions posed.
Engaging country-level partners and providing frequent status updates on the analytic process has proven successful in building sustained and productive partnerships in Mali. As a result of this successful collaboration, the evidence base demonstrating that IRS is a cost-effective malaria control intervention has grown: a manuscript recently co-authored by study partners was published in early 2018 and its results have been discussed at length by multiple stakeholders during several presentations at ASTMH 2017, ASTMH West Africa 2018, and at MIM 2018.
As further NgenIRS analyses of more recent spray campaigns get underway, it’s clear that enthusiasm of in-country partners remains strong. MEASURE Evaluation, NMCP, and PMI have promptly validated and shared the latest malaria surveillance data and provided feedback on the data challenges and caveats to consider in the analysis as well as providing inputs for integrating the latest entomological surveillance data.