A few years ago, I wrote about how EnCompass’ curriculum design and facilitation work on two USAID programs was helping equip Ugandans to win the fight against malaria. This is one of the most rewarding projects I have had the pleasure of being involved with, knowing our work was contributing to saving lives and changing the future for northern Uganda.

As EnCompass recognizes World Malaria Day 2018, I’m excited to see signs that our capacity-building work with indoor residual spraying (IRS) teams continues to bear fruit. Uganda has joined the PMI VectorLink group of countries—a project led by Abt Associates with support from EnCompass and other partners. And earlier this month, Uganda’s president announced a commitment to “countrywide indoor spraying to kill malaria transmitting mosquitoes as part of efforts to reduce malaria deaths by 2020.”

How does this help beat malaria?

IRS coats the interior walls of people’s homes with insecticide that kills mosquitoes when they alight on the walls of a home at night, waiting to feed. When implemented correctly—including protocols to keep families, communities, and the surrounding environment safe—the technique has a profound impact on malaria prevention.

Doing IRS right requires rigorous training to build knowledge and skills related to malaria and IRS, organize spray teams, and monitor progress. In working with IRS teams, we identified a need for “just in time” resources to help them do their work safely and successfully. So, we helped create six pocket-sized reference guides—one for each role on the team—that IRS personnel can carry with them and refer to for in-the-field troubleshooting and reminders.

Three of the “pocket guides” we helped produce for IRS teams to use during spraying operations.

The pocket guides use a blend of text, photos, and illustrations to accommodate users with varying literacy levels—an important consideration in the rural areas where IRS teams live and work.

An important part of our job is transferring IRS training and facilitation skills to country health officials, using adult-learning principles to equip the leaders and managers who will train IRS teams after a given project ends. With added country capacity, donor-funded programs achieve one of the main aims of capacity building—the transfer of increasing responsibility to country health officers, which promotes sustainability and ownership of IRS.

I was deeply inspired by the Ugandan team’s tireless dedication to the success of the project. And with continuing support, including their government’s stated commitment to IRS, we can be hopeful that many more Ugandan communities will soon be ready to beat malaria.

How is your country getting #ReadyToBeatMalaria? Tell us in the comments, or by tweeting @EnCompass_World.

EnCompass’ curriculum design and facilitation experts have been part of USAID-funded IRS programs led by Abt Associates since 2012. From the Uganda IRS project, our work expanded to other African countries under the AIRS program, and continues under VectorLink.

Vera Connolly and Jaime Jarvis also contributed to this story.

Image c/o USAID AIRS program, via Abt Associates