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    Personalities of the Month

    Personalities of the Month

    Personalities of the Month: Aradhana K C, Nepal.

    Hello, I am Aradhana K C and originally from Nepal. Currently, I have been working as an Entomologist at Save the Children International (Global Fund in Malaria program) in Sudurpashchim Province, Nepal. Regarding my qualification, I completed Master’s degree in Zoology with a specialization in entomology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. In addition, I also did another master’s course in Tropical Ecology from the Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU), Norway.

    Aradhana has been working in public health entomology and vector biology for more than six years.

    When I was doing my M.Sc. degree in zoology, I was very much interested in studying insects, particularly mosquitoes. Therefore, I choose this field to broaden my knowledge of medically important insects. During my academic study, I got a grant from Nepal Health Research Council for the dissertation work on dengue vector. The research work on the vector of dengue in Kathmandu Valley of Nepal really gave an insight and scope of the medically importance insect to human life.

    After completing my master’s Degree, I engaged in various research institutes related to vector-borne diseases in Nepal, such as Natural History Museum, Pesticide Monitor Nepal and Nepal Health Research Council for around three years. Thereafter, I got an opportunity to pursue another master’s course in Tropical Ecology at the University of NMBU, Norway. Even in my second master’s course, I carried out the research as a part of my research in dengue vectors in the hilly area (Lalitpur district) of Nepal.

    My recent work involves designing and planning vector control activities, designing integrated vector control protocol and guidelines, orientation to health workers at the province and district level on case-based surveillance and response, facilitating and conducting TOT on entomology to health workers, insecticide resistance monitoring studies, vector surveillance studies, coordination with government and stakeholders and indoor residual spraying (IRS). Therefore, I would say that I have an extensive working experience on malaria, dengue, kala-azar, lymphatic filariasis and Japanese encephalitis vectors. I also have published my work in national and international journals.

    Though the field of public health entomology is the backbone of vector-borne disease control and elimination programs, I agree somehow that there is a lack of career incentives for this field in my country. Due to low morbidity and zero mortality, malaria is of less priority. It seems that there are many vacant positions, even at the national level and provincial levels in my country; unfortunately, no one seems to be interested in fulfilling the positions. This may reflect the failure of the administration and governance to understand the importance of entomology. In this situation, APMEN may sensitise all members directly or indirectly involved in the public health management system at the national level.

    Though we do a lot of hard work with the best performance without any time limitation from morning to whole night, we get very few benefits or, let’s say, no extra benefits. Therefore, it is very difficult to be motivated and upgraded in the workplace.

    In Nepal, the malaria burden was decreasing gradually till 2021. However, imported cases increased in 2022. As a result, imported cases are contributing as the major burden of malaria in Nepal. Notwithstanding, surveillance and orientations are being conducted to the front-line healthcare providers prioritizing malaria for elimination.

    Nepal has committed to malaria-free by 2025, but the country must do a lot to fulfil the commitment. First, the surveillance and information system should be strengthened. Secondly, for sustainable and effective coverage for vector control intervention and implementation, well-trained manpower is needed to reduce transmission and all vacant positions, at least national and provincial levels must be filled by the government. Similarly, the technical and managerial capacities should be strengthened and upgraded accordingly. The national malaria program achieved a more than 94% reduction in indigenous cases by 2022 compared to previous years. The overall trend of the national malariometric indicators indicates that Nepal has entered the elimination phase with API (Annual Parasite Incidence) of less than 1 in all the provinces.