On the 30th of April, PSJ's malaria team set out for the small remote village of Jigawa in Kontagora to take our malaria prevention messages and commodities to the women and children in that community. The journey was that of meandering through bush paths. Luckily, we had a four-wheel drive vehicle to convey our team. It took us about an hour to reach the village. The community members were very happy to receive us. On getting down from the vehicle, it became obvious to all that Jigawa is a village that seems to have been forgotten by the government. They lack electricity, good roads, potable water, school, health clinic and other social infrastructure.
The visit of our malaria team was to prepare the women and children to be ready to defend themselves and their families against malaria especially with the rainy season on the horizon. The rains mark the period of peak malaria transmission as it provides the perfect environmental factors for female anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria to breed and multiply.
Our team gave health education to the villagers on ways of preventing mosquito bites including the need for them to clear bushes around their homes and to sleep under Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs). Pregnant women were educated on the dangers of malaria for themselves and their babies. A total of 148 community members received health education on environmental sanitation, 45 nursing mothers and pregnant women received ITNs. Community members were very grateful to the team and our donors for remembering them. They expressed joy at the ITNs given to them free of charge. A nursing mother expressed her joy thus- "now my child will be safe".
On behalf of Jigawa and other communities we serve, PSJ team expresses our profound gratitude to our supporters and donors for making this outreach possible. Every dollar you give to us makes a difference in the lives of people in poor rural communities like jigawa.
In December 2010, the malaria prevention outreach took our malaria project team to makera, a transit village and resting point for long distance drivers along the Lagos -Kaduna axis in Niger State. After the usual house-to-house visits of distribution of insecticide treated nets (ITNs), the team embarked on community-wide malaria prevention sensitization. The hallmark of activities was an open market square malaria sensitization outreach dedicated to educating community members on ways to prevent malaria using IEC materials such as posters and pamphlets. The market sensitization focused on behavior change and environment sanitation to prevent malaria.Our team of community health workers used the local language to educate community members how malaria is transmitted, early clinical signs and symptoms, the role of mosquitoes, the need for early diagnosis and treatment especially for children and how it can be controlled through environmental hygiene and sanitation. 53 pregnant women and nursing mothers recieved ITNs during the outreach. Over 600 community members were reached with malaria prevention messages during the market sensitization. On behalf of the communities we serve, we express our deep and profound gratitude to all our donors who have contributed to this project. We know that you have donated over and over to this project. May this new year bring prosperity to all of you. Thank you for your generosity. We are very grateful.
In the past 9 weeks, we have been focusing on orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) in rural Mashegu. More than any other factor, HIV/AIDS is the single highest contributor of OVCs in Mashegu.
As part of our general health and well-being support, Physicians for Social Justice has been distributing Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) to OVCs and their households as part of the comprehensive care and support services to improve their quality of life.
Until date, 187 OVCs and their households in four rural villages with targeted malaria interventions including free distribution of insecticide treated nets, malaria prevention education and chemoprophylaxis and treatment for malaria cases. The ITNs are especially important for the OVCs as we are in the peak of rainy season, the period when malaria transmission and deaths among children is highest.
The project team is very grateful for all those who made donations to our Malaria project. We thank you very much for donating over and over again to this project. We are indeed very grateful. Your donations through the Global Giving Foundation Website have no doubt saved hundreds of vulnerable children from repeated deadly malaria attacks.
Based on the emerging evidence that our behaviour change communication strategy is creating positive attitudes and behaviours for better malaria control outcome in the communities we serve, PSJ’s malaria team continued to focused our efforts to educate families about malaria prevention through environmental sanitation and consistent use of insecticide treated nets during the past three months.
For this reporting period, we focused our efforts on pregnant mothers who are among the most vulnerable groups to malaria attacks and deaths in this region. Our aim is to boost malaria prevention health behaviours among this group. National statistics shows that more than 50percent of pregnant women from the communities we serve will have 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.
Our malaria prevention team visited villages in and around Kontagora community. The team educated women about intermittent preventive treatment, the importance of using insecticide treated nets, and 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). In addition, we distributed 75 long lasting insecticide treated nets (ITNs) to pregnant mothers.
Our efforts in these past three months 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 ITNs and malaria medicines and pay for transport costs to visit these communities. Those one, five,ten, twenty, fifty dollar donations have added up to make such a huge difference in the lives of dozens of these poor rural mothers. Your donations will save the lives of 75 pregnant mother and their babies this rainy season, the period when malaria attack is at its peak. Once more, on behalf of the communities we serve, we say thank you for all your financial support.
We are really very grateful for your support!
Update from the field October 2009 to January 2010
By Chukwumuanya Igboekwu MD, MPH
Consolidating on our new strategy of targeted house to house malaria prevention campaign, our malaria project continues to make positive impact in the life of people in poor communities in rural Mashegu. The new strategy is much more effective as it provides us the opportunity to offer customized recommendations to individual families on simple environmental engineering and behaviour modifications that will eliminate malaria vector breeding sites.
Within this reporting period, we conducted outreaches in four villages, namely Bokwai, Kaboji, Sabon-rijia and Mulo. The project reached 1300 vulnerable households with targeted malaria prevention education, prophylaxis, treatment and insecticide treated nets. The house to house visits provided a unique opportunity for the malaria team to educate families about malaria prevention through environmental sanitation. In particular, elimination of mosquito breeding sites was emphasized as we approach the onset of rainy season when malaria transmission is highest.
We 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 under five children is due to delays in instituting treatment for such children. Thousands of young children who suffer acute attacks of malaria frequently develop complications such as anaemia and convulsions, because they do not receive prompt treatment, and such complications are usually the cause of their death.
Our malaria team also continued to focus on school-based malaria education sessions for 450 children in the four community primary schools in these villages. Children who participate in these educational sessions now serve as messengers, taking what they have learnt to their various homes. There is the case of Abdullahi, an 8 year old primary 3 pupil, who after participating in our malaria education session went home and convinced his father to embark on environmental sanitation; to clear the vegetations in their house and remove all stagnant water in their surroundings in order to eliminate mosquito (malaria vector) breeding grounds.
We are very grateful to all our donors who support the work we do. We are very grateful to you. Thank you for supporting the work we do. Your unrelentless support to our work has been our biggest strength. On behalf of the communities we serve, we say thank you for all your support.
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P. O. Box 18 Kontagora,
Health Program Associate
P. O. Box 18 Kontagora,