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Code of Conduct for Spray Team Members

 

From: Wing Beats, Summer 2012.
By Manuel Lluberas

Malaria is the deadliest mosquito-borne disease. Over 50% of the World’s populations live in malarious areas. This translates to approximately 3.5 billion people in 107 countries and territories. More significantly, however, more than 1 million people die annually from malaria. The vast majority of these, about 86%, are in sub-Saharan Africa. This mortality rate is the equivalent of six or seven 747 Jumbo planes crashing every day! Moreover, at least 125 million non-immune travelers from malaria-free countries visit malaria endemic regions annually.

In an effort to reduce the malaria burden on their populations, many countries have launched, revived and/or expanded large scale efforts and initiatives against malaria in the form of mosquito control interventions that include the distribution and use of insecticide-treated nets and the implementation of indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaigns.

Unfortunately, this remains conspicuously underutilized even though this combination has been documented as a highly effective approach to control malaria and is recommended by the World Health Organization as an effective tool against malaria vectors (http://www.fighting malaria.org/rticleaspx?id=1049). Programmatic evidence shows that correct and timely use of these methods can reduce malaria transmission by up to 90 percent (http://www.who.int/ mediacentre/news/releases/ 2006/pr50/en/index.htm).

Furthermore, technical issues related to the detailed planning, needs assessment and operational timelines and other activities associated with the implementation of wide scale IRS campaigns have received little attention. One of these frequently overlooked issues is personnel management, a key factor directly linked to the effectiveness and efficiency of IRS campaigns, which are often described as the mobilization of small armies.

Good personnel management is vital to the proper execution of any IRS campaign. It is instrumental in adhering to the operational tempo and timelines delineated for the campaign. One of the key components of personnel management is the establishment of clear and concise position descriptions for all levels of the organization and a clear and concise code of conduct for personnel. These provide spray teams members the criteria under which they will operate and program managers a base with which to evaluate their subordinates.

The following code of conduct incorporates features of one currently being used successfully in several malaria vector control programs in sub-Saharan Africa and is provided here as an example for use in other programs.

Indoor residual spray team members – Spray Operators and Team Leaders/Supervisors – have a duty to always act in a professional manner and maintain good relationships with the villagers. Their behavior and

demeanor should be beyond reproach. Spray team personnel should never say or do anything to each other or to a member of the community that will upset or offend local leaders, householders or their customs. Sometimes spray teams will be offered food. Accepting these gifts should be discouraged as it may cause undue hardship to householders where food and/ or water may be in short supply or difficult to obtain. Therefore, spray team members must provide their own food and/or snacks at all times and in all locations.

All members must agree to comply with the following:

Rule 1: Spray team members must wear their uniform properly and maintain in clean and in good working order.

Rule 2: Spray team members must properly wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) while spraying.

Rule 3: Spray team members must be respectful and courteous towards house residents and their property at all times.

Rule 4: Spray team members must never ask villagers to provide food, money or water for their sprayers.

Rule 5: Spray team members, particularly the team leaders, should give clear instructions to the residents so they can adequately protect themselves, their family members and domestic animals and pets from exposure to the insecticide applied and instruct the householder on how to sweep the floor of the house and the ground immediately around it of all dead insects and burn or bury them during the course of two days after spraying.

Rule 6: Spray team members must comply with all directives given by their team leaders and program managers.

SPRAY OPERATORS
Spray operators are often selected from the community and employed for period ranging from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the complexity of the campaign, and trained to apply insecticide. They should, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health or other pertinent local authority undertaking the IRS campaign, be able-bodied, able to work with minimum supervision and be able to read and write. Spray operators should be at least 18 years old, with no previous criminal records, physically fit, with no skin conditions, healthy and able to operate the sprayer. If women are employed, they must understand that they must not be pregnant or lactating at the time of recruitment or get pregnant during any part of the spray campaign and that pregnancy can be grounds for relocation away from active spraying or termination of their contract. Spray operators should be responsible persons who can communicate with residents. Once teams are selected, spray operators are trained in the proper insecticide application techniques, effective communication and record keeping.

DUTIES OF SPRAY OPERATORS

• Reports for duty on time and ready to work.

• Respects local customs, laws and regulations.

• Keeps his/her sprayer, tools, personal protection, etc clean and in good working and assumes total responsibility for all the equipment under his/ her care.

• Applies all insecticides following the program’s procedures, protocols and directives, be accountable for all insecticide sachets issued to him/her.

• Wears personal protection equipment as instructed while spraying and protect him/herself and the environment from insecticide contamination.

• Maintains accurate records of his/her activities while on duty as a spray operator.

• Is courteous and respectful to the householder and residents and their property.

• Conducts complete and comprehensive spraying of assigned homes.

• Explains the purpose of spraying and precautions taken and answers any question posed by the resident or his/her family.

• Assists the householder, if necessary, to move furniture and other belongings.

• Reports any problem to his/ her team leader as soon as they arise.

• Carries out instructions given by the team leader in a timely fashion.

• Thanks each householder for his/her cooperation and answers or addresses any concerns, upon completing his/her work.

DUTIES OF TEAM LEADERS AND SUPERVISORS

• Assists in the training of spray operator and guides them in the proper completion of their duties, following the established proce- dures and protocols in a timely fashion.

• Keeps all spray personnel up-to-date and informed as to their progress and that of the Campaign.

• Continually and routinely checks their team members to make sure their equipment is kept clean and in working condition.

• Carries out or supervises minor field repairs to sprayers and personal protection equipment;

• Supervises his/her spray team members during spraying operations and ensures their work is carried out according to instructions and following established protocols and procedures.

• Conducts sporadic checks on application equipment and nozzles so that appropriate discharge and application rates are maintained.

• Ensures his/her team members have adequate supplies of insecticide, water, record cards, replacement PPE, etc.

• Ensures that zone maps are always available (or produced) and are updated as his/her team members progresses from village to village.

• Ensures home owners and residents are notified of spray operations at least a day in advance.

• Contacts the village chief as soon as his/her spray squad enters the village.

• Instructs each spray operator on the houses he/she is responsible for spraying.

• Makes appropriate corrections on method or technique not executed correctly by any of his/her team members.

• Verifies that spraying has been conducted according to the established plan upon completion of the day’s work.

• Ensures all data recorded by team members is correct and accurate and rectifies any deficiencies noted.

• Prepares daily progress report accurately at the completion of daily spraying.

• Supervises the cleaning of application equipment at the end of the day’s work.

• Reports to the Supervisor the progress of the squad and include remarks on the work of each spray operator.

• Carries out any other instructions given by his/her superior or any other Senior Program Officer.

• Ensures each team member in his/her team gives a professional image and maintains cultural sensitivity.