By Chelsea Montes De Oca
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
Making the case for community surveillance
The PATH Malaria Control and Elimination Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) and key public health leaders met in Kisumu, Kenya, in August to present on the latest innovations in malaria surveillance. This meeting, in partnership with Imperial College, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and KEMRI, looked at malaria surveillance in antenatal care populations. Specifically, it looked at whether rapid diagnostic tests at antenatal screenings can be used to track malaria transmission in near real time!
This meeting was associated with a larger MACEPA project, funded by Malaria No More UK, seeking to reduce the burden of malaria in three sub-counties of Kenya’s Siaya County: Alego Usonga, Gem, and Rarieda. It focused on improving information systems and infrastructure and supporting community case management. In four years, this project helped train 495 community health volunteers who screened about 200,000 patients presenting with fever, of which over 150,000 tested positive.
Kenya is on track for further advances against malaria in Siaya County. As designed, project funding from Malaria No More UK ended in August. Plans are afoot for it to become a self-sustaining initiative.
Spray operators test their knowledge
Zambia’s Western Province is gearing up for another spray season with an indoor residual spraying (IRS) training of trainers. This session took place in Senanga Nursing School and helped equip dozens with vital skills in IRS, including equipment assembling and troubleshooting, mixing of chemicals, informing households, and environmental compliance.
Such trainings are also a great way for participants to convene to learn more about the current state of malaria and the unique issues facing particular regions.
“Most of the patients we see in our health facilities are Angolans since they prefer seeking health services from Zambian health facilities, owing to the porous nature of our borders. We can make strides of eliminating malaria from our end but we will still have to deal with imported malaria cases.”
– Vivian Mwaba, focal point person for Sikongo District
“I have been conducting IRS training for the last eight years…one of the challenges with IRS revolves around the timing of conducting IRS due to the late procurement of chemicals. This, in turn, affects the acceptance of the IRS intervention by the community members.”
– Owen Munachilemba, master trainer
Photos: PATH/Chilumba Sikombe
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