Physicians for Social Justice (PSJ)

PSJ's mission is to promote community health, as well as support underserved rural communities to realize their highest attainable standard of health. This mission is borne out of our strong conviction that physicians have a crucial role to play toward the realization of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals(MDGs), especially in regard to those goals related to health.
Dec 23, 2014

Updates from the field: Your donations saved Malik's life

Young Malik
Young Malik

For this end-of-year update, we bring you the story of how your donations saved the life of Malik, a six year old boy (see attached picture) who lives with his parents in one of the scattered remote settlements around Faje village. Our team was moved by the resilience of Malik’s mother who hoped against all odds when Malik was attacked by malaria. Residing in a remote settlement where no health facility or trained health personnel exists, Malik’s mother had resigned the situation of her child to fate when he came down with malaria. Fortunately for her, this period coincided with the scheduled period of our mobile clinic team’s outreach visit to Faje. Hope came in the horizon as soon as a neighbor announced to her that the Mobile Clinic Team had arrived Faje, the village neighboring her settlement. However, by the time she brought Malik to the Mobile clinic post beside the village head’s palace, the line of waiting patients had swelled with hundreds of women and their babies already lined to be attended to by the consulting physician who led the Mobile Clinic Team.

Rather than despair or turn back, Malik’s mother persevered and quietly stood on the queue for over three hours. When it finally reached her turn to present her child to the consulting physician, she narrated her ordeal, and told the doctor that Malik had been running high fever with occasional vomiting for five days before presentation, and was slowly slipping away as his health condition continued to deteriorate day after day since the illness began. Unfortunately she and her husband could not afford to take them to the nearest rural hospital facility in the township due to lack of routine transport services to convey Malik, as well as the anticipated unaffordable medical bill if they succeeded in making the trip.

After medical consultations and laboratory test using a rapid diagnostic kit, Malik was diagnosed of acute malaria with associated anemia (reduction in red blood level due to breakdown of red blood cells probably due to delay in treatment). He was placed on Artesunate Combination Therapy (ACT) at no cost to his parents. Five days later, young Malik made a full recovery. Malik’s parents were full of praise and gratitude to all those who donated and supported the malaria clinic outreach; for providing life-saving health services to poor and vulnerable families like theirs right at their door-step.

Just like Malik’s parents, outreach after outreach, mother, fathers, parents and communities continue to express their profound gratitude and appreciation to you our donors for saving the lives of their children, for reaching out to them with your heartfelt donations that enables us continue to serve them. On behalf of these families and communities, we express our deepest appreciation you our donors, for your enormous financial support and donations, which for most part has been recurring; you have donated over and over again to this project.
This December, we reached and crossed the 16000th child with malaria treatment and 3000th nursing mother with Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN); thanks to your generous donations over these past years. That means about 16000 more children’s lives saved!

Just imagine how many more children would have died of malaria without your donation?

Sep 16, 2014

Field update from rural Mashegu

PSJ malaria outreach
PSJ malaria outreach

As the rains soak the grounds of rural Mashegu this period between July and September, PSJ's team of a community physician, a nurse and two community health extension workers, also continue to hit the ground to lead the fight against malaria in rural communities of Mashegu; with malaria clinic outreach activities conducted in rural Kwati, Faje and Makera villages during this period of peak rainy season in rural Mashegu, and this year 2014 was certainly not an exception. The rains have been especially very intense in the past one month, with the resultant increase in the malaria vector breeding sites that inevitably leads to more malaria cases among children and pregnant mothers. That is why our team focused outreach activities in these three rural communities struggling with inadequate health care resources in rural Mashegu.

During the outreach, our medical team offered pregnant mothers malaria prophylaxis and treatment. 450 villagers received malaria prevention education, including environmental sanitation and the importance of sleeping under an insecticide treated net. With the assistance of the new Rapid Diagnostic Test technology, our team was able test and treats 200 children and 110pregnant mothers for acute malaria.

On behalf of the communities we serve, we express our sincere gratitude to all our donors who made financial contributions to this project so far. We know some of you have donated over and over again to this project. Gradually, we are inching towards achieving our overall goal.

Thank you very much. Through your donation, we have offered life-saving malaria treatment to hundreds of children and pregnant women. Just imagine how many more children in rural Mashegu would have succumbed to the clutches of malaria without your donation?

 

May 14, 2014

Malaria Prevention Outreach; Field update from rural Faje

Faje, one of the first remote villages to benefit from ‘Preventing Childhood Malaria Deaths in rural Mashegu’ hosted our mobile clinic and malaria prevention outreach team in February and March 2014.

As part of the outreach activities, malaria prevention education was provided to nursing mothers and pregnant women with the aim of boosting malaria prevention health behaviours among this group. The group health education on environmental sanitation provided a unique opportunity for the malaria team to educate families about malaria prevention. In particular, elimination of mosquito breeding sites was emphasized as we approach the onset of rainy season from May to October when malaria transmission and mortality is highest. Our malaria team continued to emphasize and educate families especially mothers on how to recognize early symptoms and signs of malaria and on the need for sick children to receive prompt medical attention. This is particularly important because most of the deaths due to malaria among infants is due to delays in instituting treatment for such children.

Children under-5 and pregnant women are the most vulnerable groups to malaria attacks and deaths in this region. National statistics shows that more than 50percent of pregnant women from rural villages such as Faje will experience at least one episode of malaria during pregnancy. And this often contributes to severe anaemia (shortage of blood in the body) in the pregnant mother, resulting in increased risk of maternal and child deaths, and low birth weight.

The malaria team provided every pregnant woman in the village with intermittent preventive treatment, and sensitized them on the absolute need to seek early treatment from health workers at the earliest suspicion of malaria (whenever they develop fever or generalized body weakness or feel generally unwell as these are often the first symptoms of malaria). All pregnant mothers and children had the opportunity to get tested; thanks to the Rapid Malaria Diagnostic Test Kit that is now available at no cost. Eighty seven children and pregnant mothers were diagnosed and received malaria treatment using the Artesunate-Combination Therapy (ACT) as recommended by the Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the WHO.

Our outreach to remote villages such as Faje would not have been possible without the support of our donors whose financial donations made it possible for us to procure medical supplies such as the malaria medicines and pay for transport costs to visit these communities. Your donations have made such a huge difference in the lives of dozens of these poor rural mothers and children. Donations like yours have added up to save the lives of dozens of children, pregnant mothers and their babies in these communities we serve. We are very grateful to you our donors who support the work we do. Your relentless support to our work has been our biggest strength. On behalf of the communities we serve, we say thank you for making it possible for us to reach remote communities like Faje on continuous basis.

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