BACKGROUND: Integrated vector management (IVM) is increasingly being recommended as an option for sustainable malaria control. However, many malaria-endemic countries lack a policy framework to guide and promote the approach. The objective of the study was to assess knowledge and perceptions in relation to current malaria vector control policy and IVM in Uganda, and to make recommendations for consideration during future development of a specific IVM policy.
METHODS: The study used a structured questionnaire to interview 34 individuals working at technical or policymaking levels in health, environment, agriculture and fisheries sectors. Specific questions on IVM focused on the following key elements of the approach: integration of chemical and non-chemical interventions of vector control;
evidence-based decision making; inter-sectoral collaboration; capacity building; legislation; advocacy and community mobilization.
RESULTS: All participants were familiar with the term IVM and knew various conventional malaria vector control (MVC) methods. Only 75% thought that Uganda had a MVC policy. Eighty percent (80%) felt there was intersectoral collaboration towards IVM, but that it was poor due to financial constraints, difficulties in involving all possible sectors and political differences. The health, environment and agricultural sectors were cited as key areas requiring cooperation in order for IVM to succeed. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of participants responded that
communities were actively being involved in MVC, while 48% felt that the use of research results for evidencebased decision making was inadequate or poor. A majority of the participants felt that malaria research in Uganda was rarely used to facilitate policy changes. Suggestions by participants for formulation of specific and effective
IVM policy included: revising the MVC policy and IVM-related policies in other sectors into a single, unified IVM policy and, using legislation to enforce IVM in development projects.
CONCLUSION: Integrated management of malaria vectors in Uganda remains an underdeveloped component of malaria control policy. Cooperation between the health and other sectors needs strengthening and funding for MVC increased in order to develop and effectively implement an appropriate IVM policy. Continuous engagement
of communities by government as well as monitoring and evaluation of vector control programmes will be crucial for sustaining IVM in the country.