As a part of scaling up every malaria intervention here in Senegal, we’re bringing detailed malaria training to a new group of volunteers. The 20 members of Peace Corps Senegal’s Malaria Army are receiving advanced malaria science training. Then they bring their knowledge to the other volunteers and community health workers in their regions. Their expertise allows them to pilot new, innovative malaria intervention programs. Keep an eye on Stomp Out Malaria’s Facebook page for news about their exciting programs!
Meredith Hickson, Chris Ruli, Cady Susswein, and Ben Gascoigne are the first of Senegal’s 20 person Malaria Army to go through Stomping Out Malaria in Africa’s intensive training during Boot Camp II. Pictured above, they give their final presentation on Senegal’s malaria prevention action plan during Boot Camp II.
Potential projects include collaboration with university development studies and marketing classes to create malaria awareness and prevention messages in various mediums. Another idea is to devise and support a sustainable method of net distributions and maintenance by promoting them as a viable enterprise.
PC Ghana is also working closely with two main implementing partners of PMI: Behavior Change Support (BCS) Project and Promoting Malaria Prevention & Treatment in Ghana (ProMPT Ghana). With the introduction of BCS Project and ProMPT Ghana as partners in behavior change communication and net distributions, Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana are looking to expand on the traditional message of malaria prevention. Malaria coordinator PCVs will sit and work within and among these organizations as liaisons between the respective organizations and the numerous PCVs in the field throughout Ghana.
Introducing 3 of the 34 the Ghana Malaria Team Members: SWAT Malaria
My name is Hannah Braun and I will be living in the Upper West Region of Ghana for 2 years. I am a health, water and sanitation volunteer for the Peace Corps.
Some of my responsibilities in my small farming village will be to facilitate change that will improve the health and well being of the community. Malaria is one of the top health issues that devastates my community. The most practical way to help will be to begin with education on how malaria is spread and discuss the financial burdens that it has on the family when a member gets malaria. The next step will be to facilitate discussions on how malaria can be prevented. As a resource person in my village, I will help the people of my community find and follow through with their own solutions so we can end malaria.
Johanna Twiford: The primary project my communities will involve malaria prevention. I will be partnering with a USAID-supported BCS Project, specifically the regional office residing in Cape Coast. The major goals I hope to accomplish within my community and neighboring areas are as follows:
To increase awareness and knowledge of malaria and malaria prevention
To improve attitudes around the health issue of malaria
To help mobilize community members to implement change regarding malaria prevention
LLIN’s will be distributed within the next few months to several area’s in the district (K.E.E.A.); Elmina Urban Health Centre is overseeing this distribution; community mobilizer’s and health workers will be assisting with the distribution.
My name is Nathan Wilkinson and I am a Peace Corps Volunteer working in the Health/Water & Sanitation sector. I live in the Volta Region of Ghana where my primary project is be to work with the local health facilities-one in Azua and the other in Kpassa-to raise awareness of malaria and increase prevention strategies. Another component of my primary project is to increase education about maternal/neonatal health and nutrition - a population that is at a high risk for malaria.
The goals I have for my Peace Corps service are: to successfully integrating into my community-primarily by learning to speak the language; and raising the community’s awareness about its own health problems and the causes of those problems-malaria, diarrhea, river blindness.
Last summer and fall, over 2,000 Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) were distributed to 15 communities and health centers in the Upper River Region (URR) of the Gambia.
A number of Peace Corps volunteers in the Gambia took part in the planning and implementation stages of the universal coverage bed net distribution. Below, PCV Sunny Utterback does a demonstration of how to properly wash and dry a bed net.
Nets were funded and transported with help from Against Malaria and Peace Corps Senegal.
Preventative health volunteer Kelsey Lyle showed that neem cream isn’t just for the village family trying to avoid malaria.
MJ’s Salon and Skills Training Center is a place where women ages 17-36, most of whom are dropouts or unwed mothers, can take classes to learn hair dressing skills in order to earn their cosmetology licenses and have their own income. To give the women more marketable skills, a Gambian PCV started the “Life Skills” side of the school. Recently, the students learned how to make neem cream - a thing that to beauty students is not just “neem cream,” but a luxurious lotion that also repels annoying bugs! What could be better than that?
Health Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) often work with Community Health Nurses (CHNs) to disseminate public health messages throughout the Gambia. One such PCV is Dawn Washburn, working with CHN Omar Danso. Dawn and Omar not only work in their own community, but also travel to surrounding villages to talk about the ways to prevent malaria. In preperation for the steadily increasing downpours of the rainy season, Dawn and Omar have been making their rounds, discussing with villages the importance of clearing standing water (a prime location for mosquito breeding), why everyone should sleep under a bed net, as well as leading demonstrations on making neem cream.
What is neem cream you ask? Tune in tomorrow to find out!
"Xeex Sibbiru" means "Fight Malaria" in Wolof, one of the most widely spoken languages in Senegal.
Written by Senegalese superstar Youssou N’Dour, the song headlined the June 2009 kick off of Malaria No More’s two-year campaign called “Surround Sound: Senegal.” Sponsored by the Senegalese government and Malaria No More US, the campaign’s goals are to distribute two million mosquito nets to children under five and “bring insecticide-treated net usage up to 85%; provide correct treatment within 24 hours for 95% of malaria cases; and ensure that at least 85% of expectant mothers receive the recommended two does of preventative treatment during pregnancy.”
"Xeex Sibbiru" is sung in three of the main languages in Senegal - Wolof, Pulaar, and Sereer - and has to date been distributed to radio stations and 1,300 health huts around the country. The song tells the story of a man whose girlfriend has left him because he got malaria. When the man seeks sympathy from community members, they tell him that it is all his fault - he should have protected himself by sleeping under a mosquito net!
Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, after a panel discussion on the fight against malaria.
World Malaria Day 2011: April 25, 2011 Press conference announcing collaboration between Peace Corps and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) to create the Stomping Out Malaria in Africa initiative.