Announcing: a proud partnership between Stomping Out Malaria in Africa and Malaria No More
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2011 – The Peace Corps and Malaria No More, an organization determined to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) October 31, 2011 to combine forces in malaria prevention in Africa.
“Peace Corps volunteers serve in some of the most remote areas of the world, working at the grassroots level to prevent malaria by distributing bed nets and finding innovative ways to educate communities,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. “This partnership gives volunteers more resources and utilizes existing infrastructure to help eradicate deaths due to this preventable disease.”
"Peace Corps volunteers are great ambassadors for America around the globe," said Dr. David Bowen, incoming CEO of Malaria No More. "Their involvement reaffirms America’s commitment to the global campaign to end deaths from malaria."
Through the partnership, the Peace Corps and Malaria No More will coordinate the training of Peace Corps volunteers and staff, work together to educate local communities on malaria prevention, and engage returned Peace Corps volunteers in malaria awareness-raising activities in the United States through the Malaria Griots Project.
Peace Corps volunteers will support NightWatch a nightly reminder campaign, developed by Malaria No More and Lalela Project, that brings together Africa’s biggest stars to encourage people to sleep under their mosquito net through TV, radio and SMS platforms. Peace Corps volunteers will also support theZinduka!campaign (Swahili for “Wake up!”), a media and celebrity engagement initiative that empowers communities and schools across Tanzania with the knowledge and tools to fight malaria and create a culture of mosquito net usage, testing and appropriate treatment.
“Peace Corps volunteers serve in some of the most remote areas of the world, working at the grassroots level to prevent malaria by distributing bed nets and finding innovative ways to educate communities.”—
The Peace Corps and Malaria No More, an organization determined to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015, signed a memorandum of understanding October 31, 2011 to combine forces in malaria prevention in Africa.
“We had no experience with Universal Coverage. Peace Corps had a model that worked and we put that model in our round 10 Global Fund grant application.”—Dr. Pape Moussa Thior, Director of the National Malaria Control Program in Senegal. Quotation from a presentation made during Stomping Out Malaria in Africa’s 2nd Boot Camp.
As a health volunteer placed in Mtwara Town, on the southern coast of Tanzania, I am working directly with an organization called International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH).
I-TECH works in collaboration with U.S. Center for Disease Control and the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to strengthen the training of health care workers in Tanzania. I am placed at one of the eight Zonal Health Resource Centers (ZHRC), which are located across the country. I assist in the coordination and facilitation of training activities for health workers in the area and for students at the health training institutions. Currently, I am planning various trainings, assisting with the monitoring and evaluation of health activities in the Southern Zone, and teaching Health Promotion, Communication and Counseling Skills, and Entrepreneurship in Health to Clinical Officer students in Mtwara. Malaria is a pressing issue in Mtwara and therefore a topic of discussion in many of my courses.
In my health promotion course, my students were assigned the activity to develop a health education activity. One of the scenarios involved developing a health education media campaign to increase the use of insecticide treated nets to help prevent malaria in the Mtwara area. Students were creative and
came up with a number of different campaigns. One group, for example, developed a radio campaign that would be played during the evening hours to remind the listeners to get under their mosquito nets.
In my communication and counseling skills course, my students were learning about effective presentation skill. They were assigned to prepare and give a presentation on a pressing health issue in Tanzania. The majority of my students choose Malaria as their topic, and we spent two class periods listening to around 40 presentations on Malaria, where my students covered all the basic issues from causes and transmission to prevention.
Peace Corps Tanzania Volunteer in the Education and Health sectors since September 2007
I have been fortunate to serve in two sectors of Peace Corps Tanzania, over three different regions (Newala-the Deep South, the island of Zanzibar, and Iringa-the Southern Highlands). In my first three years I taught biology and chemistry. While teaching biology and chemistry, both the topics of HIV/AIDS and malaria were incorporated into the lessons. I then did some work in HIV/AIDS outreach on the island of Zanzibar. My current location is Iringa and I am working with the John Hopkins University Community and Capacity Program (Tanzania CCP). Our work involves improving communication and capacity in the health field, which in turn promotes behaviour change leading to better health within the community. The areas that are covered include, but are not limited to HIV/AIDS, malaria and Safe Motherhood.
My current assignment is to work with various partners (Zanzibar Ministry of Health (ZMOH); USAID/JSI/SCMS/; Danish International Development Agency (DANDIA)) in order to implement a new pilot program that allows for an integrated system for drug distribution and procurement. The goal of this program is to let each sub-facility order drugs through the central warehouse rather than the central warehouse sending a fixed quantity of drugs to each sub-facility. This ensures that each sub-facility gets the appropriate amount of drugs needed according to each sub-facility’s consumptions, which will prevent drug expiry and drug shortages. Right now, 19 sub-facilities on Unguja and Pemba are participating in the pilot program with the hope of expanding it to all of Zanzibar’s sub-facilities by next year.
I have participated in many different tasks such as inventory management, warehouse assessment, supervision of health facilities, and quantification/forecasting. My current goal is to assist the pilot program transition form a manual to a computerized system to manage inventory. My goal is that by the end of the third year, I will have successfully taught staff at the central level how to manage their inventory system through the computer so that they can manage it on their own when I leave. Other goals are to: participate with the assessment of the pilot program in order to plan the program’s expansion; to teach methods in process improvement and planning at the central facility level (i.e. creating standard operating procedures); to assist with properly forecasting drug quantities so that if the pilot program expands they can order the appropriate amount of drugs needed to serve the Zanzibar population.
Challenges I see are mostly at the sub-facility level, such as not having enough staff to fill out the request forms. There was a training conducted last year (which I was not present for), but either those trained have moved on and now there are new staff or they aren’t motivated to fill forms out as they have other immediate duties (like tending to patients) or they didn’t really understand how to fill out the form. For the latter concern, we have been going to mentor the different facilities on how to fill out the forms correctly.
If the pilot goes well, we will include malaria and other programs into this integrated system. We have until the end of 2011 to complete the pilot, at which time we will be quantifying drugs again based on the consumption we see form the 19 facilities.
In photos: gathering consumption data at facilitates; distributing medicine at facilities; picking items for distribution; picture of inside central warehouse.
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!