The idea for a Pan-African Mosquito Control Association (PPAMCA) was floated at the 2009 Multilateral Initiative for Malaria Conference in Nairobi. As a result, both Kenya and Nigeria formed associations. Now the ground is set for a true launching of the continent-wide association.
The formal launching took place at the 6th Pan-African Malaria Conference in Durban today. Chioma Amajoh, former Director of the Nigeria National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), chaired the event.
The PAMAC President, Charles Mbogo, outlined the steps in the formation of PMACA as seen in the photo. He also explained that strong ties with the World Mosquito Control Association and the American Mosquito Control Association would provide guidance in training and new tools for PAMCA and the new country chapters that will hopefully soon be formed.
Maureen Coetzee of the Wits University in Johannesburg and a reknown entomologist gave the keynote address. She was worried about predictions that entomologists were going extinct and welcomed PAMCA as a way to foster new talent. She stressed the need for support for vector control, not just from the malaria community but also from the corporate world, examples of while have been presented at MIM2013, the different types of disease organisms ranging from viruses, filarial worms to plasmodia parasites were evidence of the huge job awaiting PAMCA. PAMCA as the umbrella to national chapters can liaise with the AMCA, for example, to develop better monitoring and evaluation tools and with country chapters to facilitate the registration and regulation of chemicals.
Michael MacDonald, Co-Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Vector Control Working Group emphasized the need for qualified vector control workers at national, provincial, district and local levels. As a consultant to WHO, he outlined new WHO publications on capacity building in vector control that can guide PAMCA. Dr MacDonald also noted that PAMCA could help members take advantage of new technologies from Geographical Information Systems to mobile technologies.
Sam Awolowo, President of the Nigeria Chapter lamented that their NMCP could find only 20 qualified medical entomologists in 2010 (although there were more in the agricultural sciences). He said that their chapter is working closely with the NMCP on technical committees as well as strategizing ways to create a arger pool of qualified vector control workers.
Finally the famous singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who is also a RBM Good Will Ambassador, lent her support to PAMCA in words and song. In her introduction the Chair noted that not only was she involved in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, but had now transferred her considerable energies to the battle against mosquitoes.
Ms Chaka Chalka said that while she is happy to be some WOMen (well organized men), she would not want to be a female mosquito who carries malaria parasites. She observed that mosquitoes do not carry passports or visas, echoing the importance of cross-border transmission highlighted during MIM2013. She called on Africa’s leaders to train the young ones in skills to control malaria and mosquitoes and offered 100% support for PAMCA as it demonstrates Africans working together to help Africans.
Those who are interested and able to get involved, check out the www.pamca.org and join for the $40 membership fee. Everyone should add their voices to the fight against malaria and mosquitoes in Africa.