The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to provide new technologies through research to combat the challenges of insecticide resistance in Nigeria.
Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director-General of NIMR, made the call at a scientific presentation in Lagos.
Salako said: “There is a need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach toward an approach emphasising multiple vector control interventions, yet maintaining effective coverage.
“There are tools with improve efficacy such as Long-Lasting Insecticide Nets with combine insecticide (PBO-Nets), IRS insecticide with proven efficacy and longer residuality and environmental management.
“There is also the need to explore alternative non-chemical base control measure, that is, the use of genetic modified mosquito.
“The more tailored approach will encourage the use of the most effective tools in accordance with specific local conditions.’’
He said that in the line with the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommendation on the deployment of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN), the Federal Government should support a large scale operational research.
“The WHO recommends immediate and pre-emptive actions to delay resistance, which requires the use of tools with proven optimal efficacy.
“Our researchers have tested and identified tools with improved efficacy and we need government to support large scale operational research on the use of LLINs in insecticide resistance hot spots areas in Nigeria.
“NIMR should be commissioned as a hub for vector surveillance and insecticide resistance mapping in Nigeria.
“NIMR should also be mobilised to explore the use of alternative non-insecticide based mosquito control measures such as the sterile insect techniques,” he said.
Also, Dr Sam Awolola, the NIMR Head of Public Health Department, said that there was need to mitigate the effect of insecticide resistance in malaria control in Nigeria.
“We have been working in most parts of the country, especially in the South-West and North-Central area.
“We find out that there are areas where mosquitoes have developed resistance to insecticide and people are rejecting the use of long lasting insecticide nets.
“Our research shows that this is not because the nets given to them are bad, but because local mosquitoes in some communities have developed resistance to insecticide,” he said.
Awolola, therefore, urged the government and the National Malaria Elimination Programme to be strategic in terms of deploying some tools that were half-improved efficiency to some of the states.
“Long lasting insecticide nets that have some other synergies that can be incorporated to them have shown much efficacy in areas where we have resistance.
“It is important for us to be strategic in the deployment of our long lasting insecticide nets; we found out that there are other products of combination nets that work in areas where there is resistance,” he said.
Awolola said that one of the major factors that contributed to the insecticide resistance was the misuse of agricultural insecticides globally.
“There are several factors that can be responsible for resistance, it can be the misuse of insecticides in the past.
“So, the country needs to design a plan to deploy new tools in the area where we have resistance,” he said.