Dec 08, 2020 | News

Burkina Faso Stakeholders consultations on Gene Drive Technology for integrated vector management towards malaria elimination

Burkina Faso Stakeholders consultations on Gene Drive Technology for integrated vector management towards malaria elimination

Under its flagship Integrated Vector Management (IVM) Programme, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in partnership with the National biosafety agency (ANB) of Burkina Faso organized an information sharing workshop on the applications of "Gene Drive" technology and facilitated discussions for the establishment of a consultative group on integrated vector management in Burkina Faso. The meeting was held from November 30th to December 1st, in Ouagadougou and brought together healthcare, environmental and biosafety regulators and other decision makers from different relevant institutions in the country. 

The objectives of this meeting were to share up-to-date information on the emerging Gene Drive emerging, and to move forward with the national IVM platform establishment and operationalization process. Safe application of Gene Drive technology has been identified by the African Union High Level Panel on Emerging Technology (APET) as a potential promising tool that could be added to the toolbox for malaria control and elimination in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gene Drive Technology

Regulators and other experts from the health, biosafety and environment sectors took part in this meeting.

During the meeting, presentations were made on key topics pertaining to a safe utilization of gene drive technology to control malaria. These include  an overview of the status of vector borne diseases such as malaria and their impacts, existing vector control strategies and their limitations, innovative Genetic based vector control strategies, regulatory and governance considerations related to Gene Drive, stakeholders engagement, public communication aspects, policy considerations at global, continental Africa, regional ECOWAS levels, implementation progress of the West Africa Integrated Vector Management (WA-IVM) programme, and also the perspectives for continental IVM and associated Advisory Panel.

Following enlightening and constructive discussions, critical challenges were identified in relation to the status, institutional anchorage, operationalization of the national IVM plate-form in Burkina Faso and a list of a core team members was proposed for an interim constituted body.

At the end of the meeting, participants expressed gratitude for the support provided by AUDA-NEPAD through its twin IVM and ABNE programs, and they requested the Agency to continue to provide such support to ensure full operationalization of the national IVM platform in Burkina Faso.