​​RAFT TechTalk: Capacity strengthening in Africa for arbovirus preparedness through regional networking​

Raft Tech Talk series card with green background and Raft logo

​​Arbovirus prevalence is increasing globally, in particular Aedes-borne infections. A 2022 survey conducted by WHO (AFRO) revealed a deep and broad shortfall in capacity in most African countries for surveillance and control of arboviral diseases. This webinar provides background to the situation in Africa, and explores opportunities for regional networks of collaborating institutions to improve surveillance and response and provide platforms for information sharing.​ 

This event is suitable for researchers (including academics and students), control programme managers and policy makers interested in networking around arboviral diseases​.

Dr Kallista Chan, LSHTM

Kallista Chan is a public health entomologist and epidemiologist based in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is currently the Research Uptake Manager at the Resilience Against Future Threats through Vector Control (RAFT) consortium, where she ensures that policy, programme and investment decisions in vector-borne disease control are informed by the consortium’s research evidence. Previously, she led field research projects in West and East Africa exploring the links between irrigated rice and malaria. Specifically, she was looking for rice cultivation practices that can significantly reduce malaria vector productivity.

Dr Raman Velayudan, WHO

Dr Raman Velayudhan, MSc, PhD is at present Head, Veterinary Public Health, Vector Control and Environment unit (VVE) unit, Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases of World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva.  He is the global focal point for dengue prevention and control, Integrated Vector Management and coordinates other arboviral vector-borne disease control activities at WHO.  In his present assignment, he also supports the secretariat for the Vector Control Advisory Group. He joined WHO in 1989 and has worked in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and the Philippines. His expertise includes malaria control, filariasis elimination and control of soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis. Before joining WHO, Raman worked for the Govt of India at the Vector Control Research Centre, Pondicherry (WHO collaborating centre). His primary responsibility included evaluating insecticides and teaching master’s degree students of Medical Entomology. He has also undertaken in-service training in Tropical Epidemiology. He has over 35 peer-reviewed publications and has steered the development of several documents and guidelines for WHO. 

​Dr Dorothy Achu, WHO

Dr Dorothy Fosah Achu is the Team Lead for Tropical and Vector borne Diseases at the WHO Regional office for Africa, overseeing malaria, neglected tropical diseases and other vector borne disease programs since November 2022. She is a Medical Doctor, Epidemiologist and former Program Manager of the National Malaria Control Program in Cameroon. Haven worked in WHO Malaria Guidelines Development Groups for many years, she has also been at the center of several vector control reforms and implementation of disease control interventions at national level. 

Dr Mischeck Mulumba, ARC

Dr Misheck Mulumba serves as the Chair of the Steering Committee of AfOHNet. His full-time job is as Head of the ARC - Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute in South Africa. He is also a member of the OIE Scientific Commission and Ad hoc Advisory Group on COVID19. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the South African One Health Forum. Dr. Mulumba is the current Editor of the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. His research focus includes ticks and tick-borne diseases, antimicrobial resistance, transboundary animal diseases, and emerging infectious diseases. His interest in diseases at the environment, wildlife, livestock, and human interface started way back during his undergraduate studies. It was no surprise when he teamed up with colleagues to be a founding member of Wildlife Diseases Association, Africa, and the Middle East Chapter. He has also been involved in regional and continental coordination of livestock development programmes, working for both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union. He was instrumental in setting up the African Union Centre for Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases (AU-CTTBD) in Malawi, which to this day continues to produce vaccines against tick-borne diseases. 

​Dr Samuel Dadzie

Dr Samuel Kweku Dadzie is a Senior Research Fellow and a Medical Entomologist in the Parasitology Department of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) with over 23 years' experience in the field of Medical Entomology. He holds a PhD in Vector Biology from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in UK and his current research interest focuses on arboviral diseases and insecticide resistance. He has over the years provided technical support to the National Malaria Elimination Programme in different capacities and has authored over 70 publications. He is currently the Chair of the West African Aedes Surveillance Network (WAASuN), immediate past President of Pan African Mosquito Control Association-Ghana Chapter the Vice-Chair of the WHO Technical Advisory Group for Arboviruses. 

Dr Basile Kamgang, CRID-CAM

Basile Kamgang is a medical entomologist emphasing with arbovirology, employed at the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases (CRID) as Head of Medical Entomology Department. He main interest is to decipher the factors leading to the arboviral disease outbreaks in Central Africa and prepare the region for intervention in case of outbreaks by analysing in depth the vectorial capacity, molecular bases of insecticide resistance, vector competence, genetic diversity and population structure of arbovirus vectors. His primary program is focused on understanding the process of invasion of Central Africa by the invasive species Ae. albopictus and its impact on the distribution and prevalence of resident species Ae. aegypti.

Resources for Attendees

Networks named during the TechTalk

Name and website

Requirements (if any) / contact

Africa One Health Network


Global Vector Hub


Pan-African Mosquito Control Association

Membership available

West Africa Aedes Surveillance Network

Contact page / Email

Publication from previous techtalk

Developing African arbovirus networks and capacity strengthening in arbovirus surveillance and response: findings from a virtual workshop

Q&A Session

Since arbovirus mosquitoes generally bite outside and in the day, how insecticide could be used to efficiently control them?

Kallista Chan: Hi, I’m no expert on the topic and unfortunately, the survey did not go into this level of detail but it can perhaps be assumed that the insecticide-based interventions are referring to nets, IRS, space spraying, outdoor residual spraying and larviciding. It can also refer to insecticide-treated container covers. Whilst their efficacy varies according to arboviral vector behaviour/ecology, it seems that some countries still adopt their use. It would be interesting to know which countries are using which interventions and how effective they are!

I wanted to seek your attention to Pakistan having repeated dengue epidemics and request for special focus of WHO in our country. There's not much work done on zika or chikungunya either.

Raman Velayudhan: EMRO will be contacting countries on networking and better recording of data in the coming months. Glad to contact you and we should continue our work

Which group of people are most at risk to these viruses?  And is there any chance of the current strains developing to a more severe form?

Raman Velayudhan: There is no significant change in strains. But there are 4 serotypes of dengue and secondary infections are more severe in some cases.

How can we learn from millions and billions spent on malaria financing by GF&PMI&BMGF on malaria control in Africa with lack of sustained impact? How do we achieve yellow fever elimination in Africa ?

 How do we move beyond centralised, fragmented & repeated research,surveys, standards & norms to integrated CDC & EPR action & response within countries in districts?

Dorothy Achu: The Funding from PMI and GF is an excellent opportunity for buidling vector surveillance capacity and deploying vector control in countries. The impact is present but has some challenges due to insecticide resistance. To avoid fragmentation of efforts, we need national coordination mechanisms for vector borne diseases this could be integrated to malari and NTD platforms on vector control.

Is the level of mainstreaming of these arbovirus diseases into the main health systems in Africa (EA. West & Central Africa) sufficient, if not to what levels are they in those particular countries or is paramount that they are included into the mainstream healthcare?

Raman Velayudhan: We are working with Govts to include arboviruses in the health system package as PHC.

Do we know the extent of co-infection of diseases that present similarly (e.g. fever from malaria and other vector borne diseases)? Is there a multiplex method to detect these? Also, any update to share on the recent news of a Chikungunya vaccine?

Few multiplexes are under development. Similarly, Chikungunya vaccine is also undergoing phase 3 studies.

A question for Dr Raman, is this initiative a WHO collaboration with academia and government institutions? If so, which institutions are currently involved?

Raman Velayudhan: At the country level the initiative welcomes all support and coordination. Our regional office in Cairo is establishing these links and will work through the countries.

I am an entomologist from Nigeria working on neglected vectors (Culicoides and Phlebotomus). Is there any area I can fix in One Health?

Sian Clarke: To take a One Health approach to disease control, I suggest you focus on diseases where those species might serve to function as potential bridge vectors between humans and animals.

Are there particular diseases spread by these vectors that you would like to bring to the attention of other participants on this webinar?

Philip Oke: Leishmaniasis and filariasis


Free and open to all, online. No registration required. A recording of this session will be available after the event on this page.