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.
Our malaria project continues to make positive impact in the life of children and their families in rural Mashegu; thanks to the generous donations from our donors. During the past two months, we adopted a new strategy of targeted house to house malaria prevention campaign to educate families on how to eliminate vector (mosquito) breeding sites in their environment. This is particularly important as July and August marks the period of peak rainy season which provides favorable breeding conditions for malaria. This also translates to peak period of malaria attacks and deaths for children under-five.
Within this reporting period, the project team conducted outreaches in three villages, namely Adogon, Nassarawa and Sahon-rami. The project reached 2350 vulnerable households with targeted malaria prevention education, prophylaxis 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 this is the period of peak rainy season when malaria transmission is highest. Families were also educated about early symptoms and signs of malaria and on the need for sick children to receive prompt medical attention. Insecticide treated nets were distributed to pregnant women among the families visited.
The project team also conducted three school-based malaria education sessions for children in the three community primary schools in these villages. During the school outreaches, sick children also received medical attention from the malaria team physician. Of note was the case of six year old Hadiza who was treated by the malaria team during the visit by the malaria team to her school at Adogon. She had developed fever about 2 days prior to the malaria team visit. But due to lack of financial resources, her parents could not afford to take her to the health facility, so her condition had continued to deteriorate.
Luckily for Hadiza, the mobile team visited her school two days after the onset of her illness. She was diagnosed of acute malaria by the mobile team doctor; and received antimalaria treatment free of charge. One week later, we received a short note from Hadiza expressing her gratitude to the malaria team for curing her. Here is what she wrote: “Good morning sir, I want to thank you for treating me when you visited our school last week. Before you gave me medicines, I feel feverish and too weak to play with my friends. I could not do draw my favourite pictures. But now I am well again. I can play with my friends again. Thank you doctor and nurse for treating me. My mother is very happy that I am well again”.
In rural mashegu, thousands of young children who suffer acute attacks of malaria frequently develop complications such as anemia and convulsions, because they do not receive prompt treatment, and such complications are usually the cause of their death.
Although the house to house campaign strategy that we have recently adopted was very tedious and time consuming, it proved very rewarding as it provided the malaria team the opportunity to see firsthand the environmental conditions under which families live, and to offer tailor made advice on how they (families) can improve environmental hygiene and eliminate mosquito breeding sites around their homes.
We are very grateful to all our benefactors who donated to this project; most of whom have donated to this project over and over again. We thank you for your unrelenting generosity. We thank you for the lifeline you have given to thousands of children in rural Mashegu though your donations. With your donations, many children like Hadiza will have the opportunity to receive life-saving treatment.
Thank you and May God bless you.
During this first quarter, PSJ’s malaria team visited Mullo village, a rural community with a population of about 7500 people. Most people in the village are peasant farmers. Many live on less than $2 a day.
On arrival, the malaria team paid a courtesy visit to the village chief to inform him of our arrival. He had earlier been briefed about the details of malaria team’s visit and what the malaria project is all about, so he had opportunity to mobilize the whole village to take full advantage of our visit. On the eve of the malaria outreach, the village town crier went round to remind villagers of our visit. So the entire people of the village including women and children were already assembled at the village square in anticipation of malaria team’s arrival.
The day’s activities commenced with health education on environmental hygiene and sanitation. Topics covered include the role of mosquito in malaria transmission, common mosquito breeding sites at homes, early signs and symptoms of malaria, and ways of preventing malaria.
This was followed by a community demonstration session on the use of Insecticide treated nets (ITNs). In excitement the chief of the village volunteered to sleep under the net during the demonstration session. Thereafter, ITNs were distributed to pregnant women and nursing mothers. A total of 100 ITNs were distributed. The women who were lucky to get an ITN beamed with smiles, and were full of appreciation to PSJ donors who made contributions through the GlobalGiving Foundation. Most families are poor and could not have afforded the ITNs by themselves.
Because of the limited number of nets available, we had to restrict the age limit of beneficiaries to mothers with infants (children less than one year of age) only. This still leaves hundreds of other children vulnerable to malaria attack especially during the peak malaria transmission season starting from late May.
The third activity of the day was antimalaria treatment of all children and pregnant mothers who presented with clinical features of malaria. The clinical team was led by a community physician. Targeted malaria chemoprophylaxis was also administered to pregnant women and children under-five. 125 children received malaria treatment, while 37 pregnant women received targeted malaria chemoprophylaxis. The malaria treatment is targeted at children under-five and pregnant women because they are the most vulnerable group to malaria morbidity and mortality.
At the end of activities, the malaria team held a dialogue with the village elders on the common health problems facing the community, and how Physicians for Social Justice (PSJ) can assist the community achieve their highest attainable level of health. The village elders thanked the team for the free services rendered to them. They also expressed their gratitude to all those who donated money for purchase of ITNs given to their women.
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P. O. Box 18 Kontagora,
Health Program Associate
P. O. Box 18 Kontagora,