By Sarah Pickersgill
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
In support of the National Malaria Elimination Centre, Isdell Flowers conducted two trainings in Mitete District, Western Province, Zambia. Fifty community health workers, eight health facility supervisors, and six district staff were trained on malaria case management; particularly active response protocol and reporting systems.
Together, with the National Malaria Elimination Centre, the Zambia MACEPA team led a district community engagement training in Monze, Southern Province, last week. Over 25 district health officials gathered to discuss how they can best engage and mobilize their communities on malaria elimination. Participants of the training also reviewed different funding mechanisms for their district community engagement plans.
On the second day of training, participants headed to Hamudebwe Village to engage with local community members and learn about their perspectives on health issues like malaria. Said Jane Yeyenga, Monze District staff: “Communities need to find their own solutions for social behavior change to happen for malaria elimination.”
Training concluded this week in Sikongo District, where 24 community health workers who missed training last year were in attendance. Mr. Phiri (pictured above) from the Provincial Medical Office in Western Province led a session on the purpose of the active response protocol and reporting systems within the malaria elimination strategy.
In the news
A new study published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene has found that the increased use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) has had some unintended side effects. Although RDTs have reduced the overuse of antimalarial drugs, this new study shows that, consequentially, the number of patients receiving antibiotics has shot up. This tendency to over-prescribe antibiotics could contribute to the global rise in antibiotic-resistant infections. The study also reveals puzzling cases of malaria patients testing positive yet going untreated. (via New York Times and Science)
Hayford Amponsam is one of Ghana’s inaugural class of 20,000 community health workers this year. This recent New York Times piece examines various motivators and incentive programs that influence CHWs like Amponsam. Researchers and public health specialists are reviewing the impact that the Ghanaian government paying CHWs has had on health outcomes.
Kenya’s recent drought, followed by sporadic rainfall in the middle of this year, has led to the increase of malaria transmission. To combat the disease, Kenya is leaning on its community health workers. Treating malaria at the village level, among other interventions, has helped reduce the prevalence of the disease. (via Reuters)
A malaria test, the BinaxNOW malaria kit, has been adapted to predict whether a patient will develop severe anemia, a prevalent malaria complication. The diagnostic test measures the remnants of the malaria protein HRP2 on red blood cells. (via SciDevNet)
According to a new study, a lack of education about malaria and a belief that the disease is not a personal threat are two key factors that discourage women in sub-Saharan Africa from pursuing malaria prevention and treatment. (via SciDev.Net)
In the wake of years of conflict, populations in northeastern Nigeria are at high risk of malaria. In this WHO press release, Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, explains why he believes the most effective way to reduce deaths in emergencies in fragile states, especially those facing malnutrition, is by boosting malaria prevention and control.
A new handheld spectrometry system from Global Good is undergoing field tests in Kenya, Namibia, and Laos. A smart phone app is paired with a handheld spectrometer to identify counterfeit antimalarials by comparing spectral signals. (via IEEE)
Kenya receives Sh35 billion boost to help fight HIV, TB, and malaria. Despite past allegations of corruption, the funding application was found to be technically sound and strategically focused. (via Business Daily)
And we leave you with this Instagram post from the Mitete District training. Sombo Kakupa, a community health worker from Mataba Central Health Post, explains how she is working to help end malaria!