By Sarah Pickersgill
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
Getting ready for mass drug administration in Western Province
This week, MACEPA Zambia held consultative stakeholder meetings in three districts in Western Province. Representatives from various groups, including the Department of Fisheries, Immigration, ZANIS (Zambia News and Information Services), local church leaders, community health workers, and others discussed the benefits and challenges of administering mass drug administration (MDA) in their specific communities. Stakeholders expressed their passion for eliminating malaria, with the acting district commissioner in Mulobezi stating, “We want to wake up one day and there’s no malaria in our villages. We are all here to put our ideas and efforts together to achieve that feat.”
Pictured below: Ernest Kakoma with the National Malaria Elimination Centre (NMEC) presents the National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan to stakeholders, explaining how MDA works as an accelerator within a package of malaria interventions. Meeting participants then broke into groups to discuss how to best translate the MDA program, which has been successful in Southern Province, to the Western context. From transportation logistics to sensitizing the communities, the groups provided useful insight on how the program may operate most effectively in their area.
In the news
This week, Nature published a comprehensive look at malaria prevalence from 50,424 surveys at 36,966 geocoded locations, covering 115 years of malaria history in sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis includes the impact of climate, land use, and programmatic interventions in order to make projections about the future of malaria elimination.
Ruby Shang, the chair of the board for the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), discusses the malaria “super-bug” threat to Australia and across the Asia-Pacific in Huffington Post Australia. Shang focuses on the importance of heading off malaria resurgence and protecting the progress made to date. “We risk sleepwalking into a future where cures we take for granted, rapidly disappear.”
As the growing threat of drug-resistant malaria continues to make headlines, some experts raise questions regarding the level of alarm. Leslie Roberts takes a critical look at the artemisinin-resistant strain and its projected impact. (Science)
Although the US Congress is forecasted to reject deep cuts to global health programs, current funding is still not enough. Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes about innovative financing strategies needed to close the funding gap and prevent global epidemics. (The Lancet Global Health Blog)
A malaria outbreak in Kenya has been reported in five counties, in which 438 people have tested positive. A nurse’s strike has added service delivery challenges to the outbreak, resulting in many dispensaries not being operational. (The Nation)
A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses—Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, and Crimean-Congo—spreading on the continent. Researchers focused on mapping high risk areas in order to improve preparedness in different parts of each country, not just at the national level. (Reuters)
Dr. Admasu Kesete, CEO of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (former Minister of Health for Ethiopia, 2012–2016), details how Ethiopia has been redesigning its health system, originally created for other countries, to better fit the Ethiopian context. Before, a small number of highly trained health providers was concentrated in the big cities, far away from the 85 percent of people who live in rural areas. Now, a group called The Women’s Development Army are working at the community level to encourage mothers to deliver in health facilities and model other good health practices, like sleeping under a betnet or using latrines. The Women’s Development Army has 3 million members, one for every six families. (Quartz)