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Table 2 Conceptual principles underlying development of the Dar es Salaam Urban Malaria Control Programme on the basis of direct practical experience [23, 24, 29, 35-38] and an extensive literature review [5, 6, 12, 29]

From: A tool box for operational mosquito larval control: preliminary results and early lessons from the Urban Malaria Control Programme in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Rapid response An. gambiae sibling species readily develop from egg to adult within a week in habitats that often occur transiently and unpredictably [61, 70] so surveillance and larvicide application must be implemented in cycles of a week or less, with consequent responses to observed failures executed within 24 hours [14, 17, 36].
Community-based implementation Sustainable programmes in Africa will be predominantly staffed by community-based personnel with minimal educational qualifications [29, 71-73] so simple protocols and readily-verifiable targets that can be managed with minimal technology are essential to achieve effectiveness [12].
Decentralization Given these resource limitations and the sheer abundance of mosquito aquatic habitats in tropical Africa, responsibility for surveillance and response to operational monitoring observations must therefore be devolved to staff assigned to geographic sub-units small enough to be traversed daily on foot.
Comprehensive coverage Until reliable, generalizable and practical procedures are developed which allow targeting of the most productive malaria vector habitats [10, 11] under such programmatic circumstances, high coverage of all potential sources [4, 5, 14-17, 74] is necessary to achieve satisfactory reductions of malaria transmission and burden in African settings [12, 75].
Rigorous vertical management To achieve sufficient coverage, such decentralized, community-based approaches will require new tools for hierarchical, centralized management that individualize responsibility for all program activities [5, 17] and allow rigorous monitoring, evaluation and adaptive tuning [24]. Each level of management from the CORPs up to the City Mosquito Control Coordinator is responsible for identifying and addressing all programmatic shortcomings under their purview before they are detected by the next highest level within the program or external evaluators such as donors or research partners.
Adult mosquito densities as a priority performance indicator Larval surveillance alone is inadequate to monitor or evaluate larviciding programs because it only reflects observations in habitats successfully covered by surveillance activities. Weekly monitoring of adult mosquitoes is necessary to allow rigorous monitoring, evaluation and management. While clinical or parasitological indicators are essential for rigorous evaluation of program impact, these are usually collected and reported on timescales too slow to enable day-to-day management for optimal performance.
Separation of surveillance and treatment responsibilities Larvicidal treatment, monitoring and evaluation activities should each be implemented by distinct groups of personnel so that competing interests in data collection and interpretation are minimized [5, 14, 17]
Integration with existing infrastructure and governance mechanisms Larval control programs must be integrated with pre-existing local government structures and public health systems to minimize costs, maximize effectiveness and ensure sustained acceptance by communities, public services and governments [29, 71-73].
Full time staff Larval control program staff must be allocated to the program full time. New responsibilities can not be taken over by established and often overburdened public health staff. Larval control staff will be recruited and managed through existing infrastructure and governance mechanisms as described above.
Satisfactory evidence must precede scale up. Although some encouraging evidence does exist [14-17, 36, 74], strategies targeting aquatic stage mosquitoes, including systematic larviciding remain underdeveloped and have yet to be evaluated on scales that are meaningful for scale-up as priority malaria prevention measures in Africa.