The real magic takes place at Goodbye Malaria’s Training Centre in Namaacha, Mozambique. It’s the setting for our Spray Operators to perfect the art of Indoor Residual Spray (IRS), but also to develop their communication and interpersonal skills.
Our Indoor Residual Spray training itself is incredibly demanding and physically challenging. The training walls are commonly known amongst the spray operators as the “wall of pain”. It’s here that our Spray Heroes learn how to skillfully spray walls, eaves and cornices with our WHO-approved insecticide. The insecticide, which is also supported by the Mozambican Government, leaves a coating on the inner walls of the house. When the Anopheles female mosquitoes rests on these walls, which they generally do before going to a human to bite and infect them with malaria, the coating kills the mosquito so it cannot further spread the disease.
We employ local people for our IRS team as it impacts communities and improves our IRS programme as they are familiar with the terrain and are known to the community members whose lives they’re protecting. Our Spray Operators learn how to be humble and professional, while showing respect for the homeowner whose house they are entering to spray.
Afterwards, when the house or structure has been sprayed, our Spray Operators leave a receipt behind stuck on the door to show that the house has been sprayed. Spray Operators also fill in a separate spray card which is then handed over to their team leaders and later captured by the data capturer. This ensures Goodbye Malaria’s IRS programme is monitored, evaluated and measured for ultimate success.
Putting people first
Our boots on the ground programme uses WHO-approved IRS methodology and has proved, over the last three years, to be a highly impactful intervention in reducing malaria prevalence and protecting lives in Mozambique. We direct funds to where it matters most. Not only do we use private sector efficiency, thinking and innovation in our work towards the elimination of malaria,
The Toughest Job On Earth
Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is an extremely physically demanding job. “It is arguably one of the toughest jobs on earth given the extremities of the working conditions, starting out at 5am six days a week and walking long distances (especially in rural areas), dressed in heavy PPE (personal Protection) suits and carrying heavy compression spray tanks close to 20kg when full. Daytime temperatures are sweltering and range between 30C and 40C with very high humidity. Their suits consist of a protective overall, nitrite rubber gloves, face shield, respirator, safety boots and an all-in-one head and neck protector. They are the real unsung heroes of malaria vector control in Africa,” says Francois Maartens, Goodbye Malaria’s Field Coordinator in Mozambique.
While the Goodbye Malaria program focuses on malaria control in Mozambique, there are several additional spinoffs. Maartens explains: “Children can attend school more often and parents can work or farm more productively, which raises the income and standard of living for these communities. A decrease in malaria cases also frees up hospital beds and saves the Government money, which can be used to address other problems and diseases.