Vector-borne diseases pose a major threat to the health of societies around the world. Social, demographic and environmental factors strongly influence transmission. Since 2014, major outbreaks of dengue, malaria, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika virus have afflicted populations, claimed lives and overwhelmed health systems in many countries. Yet most vector-borne diseases can be prevented by vector control, if it is implemented well.
Proven interventions targeting vectors offer some of the highest cost-effectiveness ratios in public health. Major reductions in the incidence of malaria, onchocerciasis and Chagas disease have been largely due to strong political and financial commitment and substantial investments in vector control. For other vector-borne diseases, vector control has not yet been used to its full potential or had maximal impact because interventions are inadequately delivered; this situation arises not only because of meagre investments, but also due to the collapse and dire lack of public health entomology capacity, poor coordination within and between sectors, weak or non-existent monitoring systems and limited sustainable and proven tools for certain vectors and situations.
Through a fast-tracked and highly consultative process, WHO led the development of an integrated and comprehensive approach to strengthening vector control. The Global vector control response 2017-2030 (GVCR) received strong support at the World Health Assembly in May 2017, with the adoption of a resolution to supports its implementation. The GVCR calls for improved public health entomology capacity, a well-defined national research agenda, better coordination within and between sectors, community involvement in vector control, strengthened monitoring systems and scale up of vector control supported by better availability and use of novel interventions with proven public health value. The GVCR strategy and its implementation will be presented, with reference to ongoing malaria control and elimination efforts.