9.4 Community participation and organisation of larval control measures
To ensure the prevention and control of malaria in your village, it is important that all temporary or permanent vector breeding sites are identified and dealt with through active participation of community members. This malaria control strategy becomes effective only when the mosquitoes are systematically interrupted from breeding and/or their population is substantially decreased.
In summary, methods to control larvae involve the following:
- Eliminating or changing the breeding place to make it unsuitable for development of larvae;
- Making the breeding place inaccessible to adult mosquitoes.
- Larval control is also possible without changing breeding sites by applying chemical larvicides.
The control of breeding places must be carried out around human settlements in an area with a radius greater than the flight range of the target mosquito species. For many species this is about 1.5–2 km. Control measures that are not permanently effective have to be maintained throughout the period of the mosquito breeding season. The effort and expense needed to obtain effective larval control may vary with the size of the settlement and the type and number of breeding sites.
In areas where malaria is a risk, you have to organise and educate the community to undertake environmental management activities such as draining, filling of communal mosquito breeding sites, irrigation canal water management, and chemical larviciding, etc. These activities have to be well planned (Box 9.2), performed under your supervision and assisted by volunteer community health workers. In addition to the efforts through the Health Extension Programme, community level social and traditional structures such as women’s associations, youth associations, cooperatives, health committees, schools and religious and community leaders, will all play a major role in social mobilisation as well as empowerment of the community to implement community based activities.
Box 9.2 Priority actions that support implementation of environmental management for vector control
- Identify the number and distribution of mosquito breeding sites;
- Determine the number of people needed for action;
- Identify working tools by type and number: spade, pick-axe, sickle, cutting knife, wheel-barrow, etc.
- Estimate the time required to complete the implementation of the environmental vector control measures;
- Identify the type of vector control activities: levelling and filling; drainage; cleaning and clearing ditches; clearing grass or weeds in irrigation ditches; steepening the sides of water collections, etc.
- Coordinating and managing the environmental control programme on the scheduled day and place;
- Keeping a record of the accomplished work.
Environmental management activities for vector control may require large numbers of human volunteers and their successful and sustained implementation can only be assured by active participation of the whole community. The vector control measures should be run at least once every week during the malaria transmission season. You have to educate and mobilise your community members to participate in the identification of the mosquito breeding sites and the environmental and other control measures to be undertaken. You will be responsible for coordinating the environmental management activities and leading the community on what to do, where to do it, when to do it and how to do it, in order to reduce the risk of malaria.