Global Giving Campaign Reduces Impact of Malaria on Children in Rural Kenya
Malaria is the number one cause of illness in children in Kenya. Most districts in the North Rift Valley Province lie in areas of seasonal or epidemic-prone transmission zones of malaria. In these areas, malaria accounts for 29% of all outpatient visits, 52% of hospital admissions and nearly 19% of all deaths annually. According to health facility data, 40% of all children tested for malaria in the HealthRight project areas received a positive result.
And yet, malaria is a fully preventable and treatable disease if basic interventions are implemented. In the fight against malaria in rural Kenya, the needs are great but the solutions are simple. With inexpensive resources such as test kits, microscopes, and mosquito nets, HealthRight’s project saves hundreds of children’s lives every year.
HealthRight’s malaria program was officially handed over to local Ministry of Health officials before the end of December 2012. The 3-year program had successfully supported communities and facilities in 6 districts in the North Rift Valley of Kenya to reduce the impact of malaria on children under five years of age and pregnant women, who are the most at risk for death due to malaria.
Over the course of three years, the HealthRight program achieved several very positive outcomes that together ultimately can reduce morbidity and mortality from malaria in these districts.
Three years ago, only 30% of children under five with malaria were able to receive treatment in the first day, which is crucial for avoiding serious illness and death. At the end of 2012, that rate had increased to 89% due to the efforts of HealthRight. This is a substantial and important increase for saving children’s lives.
One of the only proven methods for preventing malaria in children is the routine use of mosquito nets at night. HealthRight and the project partners worked to raise awareness among families in these six districts about the importance of placing young children under mosquito nets to sleep each night. At the same time, the project provided nets to the health facilities where they would be disbursed for free to young children during their visits.
With our project partners, including ten community-based organizations and over 1,000 Community Health Workers, the HealthRight project has been working over the past three years to raise awareness among families in these rural communities about the dangers of malaria. The project was dedicated to giving mothers better information about malaria and its risks for their children so that they seek treatment at a health facility quickly. According to a survey conducted in November 2012, the percentage of mothers that could recognize the symptoms of malaria increased by nearly 20% in three years.
In the six rural districts, HealthRight has been tracking the rates of confirmed malaria cases in all of the health facilities since the beginning of the project. These data show that malaria rates have been cut in half in the past three years. This means that each month, several thousand children are saved from getting malaria and needing treatment. HealthRight’s efforts to raise awareness among mothers, improve treatment in the facilities and increase the use of mosquito nets in the communities can all contribute to these reductions.
Global Giving Campaign Improves Diagnosis of Malaria in Rural Kenya
Report for November 2012
Malaria is the number one cause of illness in children in Kenya. In the fight against malaria in rural Kenya, the needs are great, but the solutions are simple. With inexpensive resources such as test kits, microscopes, and mosquito nets, HealthRight’s project saves hundreds of children’s lives every year.
In July 2012, with generous support from Global Giving donors, HealthRight provided over 5,000 Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits for malaria to five rural health facilities in the North Rift Valley. RDTs are a simpler and faster way of testing for malaria, requiring only 20 minutes for a final result. Therefore, when RDTs are available, nurses and clinical officers can test and confirm malaria cases faster, leading to faster treatment for sick patients. And this saves lives.
HealthRight delivered the test kits during the peak malaria season (May – August), when the risk of death due to malaria is the highest for pregnant women and young children. In July alone, over 8,400 malaria tests were performed in the five districts where HealthRight works with over 2,500 positive cases. Forty percent of these sick patients were children under five years of age, all of whom received life saving medications.
Please see photos in the document attached.
Malaria is the number one cause of illness in children in Kenya. In the fight against malaria in rural Kenya, the needs are great but the solutions are simple. With inexpensive resources such as test kits, microscopes, and mosquito nets, HealthRight’s project saves hundreds of children’s lives every year.
For the past three years, HealthRight has been working to reduce the impact of malaria in 21 communities in the rural areas of the North Rift Valley of Kenya. In total, the project serves over 750,000 people who suffer frequently from the devastating effects of malaria – including death. And, the project data show that the efforts are having a positive impact. In the past two years, malaria rates have been cut by almost 50%!
HealthRight’s project has contributed to these impressive results by working to raise awareness among families and communities about the risks and prevention of malaria and by working with health facilities to provide testing, treatment, and mosquito nets to those most at risk. The details of our activities over the past three months are described below.
Strengthening Communities and Families:
HealthRight’s project takes a two-pronged approach to strengthening communities and families. The project partners with ten local community-based organizations who serve to raise awareness in their communities about malaria. And the project supports community health workers (CHWs) who each serve 20 households in their community. In total, this project supports 1,050 CHWs who reach 21,000 families.
The project continues to disseminate malaria messages at community meetings, churches and during market days. In addition, the project has been delivering malaria messages very successfully through school visits. In the past three months, visits to schools have accounted for the delivery of malaria messages to 14,045 school children who can carry those messages home with them. In total, the project reached 29,659 community members in the past three months.
The Community Health Workers who are trained and supported by the project visit families once every three months to offer health information and to make referrals to the health facilities. Over three months, 17,015 home visits have been conducted and over 10,850 people have been referred for malaria services at one of the facilities.
Strengthening Health Facilities and Clinics:
In the past three months, HealthRight has focused on improving the diagnosis of malaria in the 21 health facilities. The gold standard for malaria diagnosis is through use of a microscope to view patient blood samples. In June, HealthRight donated six microscopes to facilities that needed them. This donation is in addition to the five microscopes donated last year. Furthermore, the project team has been performing quality checking of malaria lab diagnoses to guarantee accuracy of the results. Some of the project data showed that the accuracy of lab diagnosis varied between 50 – 100% with an average score of 72.5%. In most sites, the ability of lab technicians to make an accurate malaria diagnosis was poor. In response to this need, HealthRight organized training for 40 lab technicians throughout the project districts. The week-long training was organized to improve the quality of malaria diagnosis by using microscopes as well as the Rapid Diagnostic Tests, which provide a malaria diagnosis from a single drop of blood on a test strip.
Each month, HealthRight provides vehicles and refreshments for facility clinical staff to conduct ten rural outreach clinics. The clinics are used to reach particularly remote villages for which access to health services is very challenging. This quarter, these clinics reached a total of 2,238 people with ANC services, HIV testing, immunizations, acute care services and health education.
Increasing the Use of Mosquito Nets
Use of mosquito nets has proven to reduce malaria and is a strong contributor to the project’s success. In previous years, health facilities in the North Rift Valley would struggle to maintain stocks of mosquito nets for distribution to pregnant women and children. Since the start of this project, the HealthRight team has been working with our partner – Population Services International – to distribute nets to all of the facilities. Reducing stock outs means that more families receive the nets when they need them most.
In addition, the trained CHWs work with families during their home visits to verify that nets are available and that they are being used. The CHW assists in hanging the net when needed and explains that pregnant women and children are the most at risk of death from malaria and should use the nets every night.
In the coming months, HealthRight will focus on improving the skills of health staff in the project areas at treating severe malaria cases – those most likely to cause death. In addition, HealthRight will distribute nearly 5,000 rapid diagnostic tests in July to partner facilities with high rates of malaria to increase their testing rates.
And in August, partner community organizations will receive training on the basics of organizational management including developing strategic plans and being effective supervisors. This training will ensure that these partners can continue their good work in the communities even after the end of HealthRight’s involvement.
HealthRight would like to thank everyone that has contributed to this project so far. The work that you are supporting is having an impact. It is making a difference to children living in these rural communities and saving their lives. We appreciate your generosity!
HealthRight works to reduce the impact of malaria in 21 communities in the rural areas of the North Rift Valley of Kenya. In these communities, the project serves over 750,000 people who suffer frequently from the devastating effects of malaria including death. HealthRight projects work to provide equal access to crucial health resources such as education, tests and medicines in these excluded communities which suffer from poverty, lack of education, failing health facilities, discrimination, and isolation.
HealthRight achieves this impact by working at the community level and in the health facilities.
HealthRight’s Malaria project in Kenya focuses on improving knowledge in communities about malaria prevention and treatment. To achieve this, HealthRight works with 1,050 community health workers and ten local community organizations. HealthRight provides these partners with training and material support to work in their communities raising awareness and encouraging healthy behaviors that can reduce the impact of malaria. The local organizations received small grants to organize malaria community events and campaigns. HealthRight hired a temporary mentor to help the local organizations develop their plans and submit proposals for their work.
In the past three months, HealthRight’s project has provided information about malaria to over 6,780 people in the communities by organizing events in schools, churches and community markets. In addition, 17,900 people have been tested for malaria in the 21 health centers where HealthRight works. And, over 18,000 people have received the life saving medicines to treat the illness.
In addition, the Community Health Workers visit families once every three months to answer health questions and to make referrals to the health facilities for malaria testing and treatment. Below is a table showing the number of home visits that have been made each month for the past two years. Over three months, 17,747 home visits have been made. The project is steadily aiming to achieve 7,000 home visits per month – or 21,000 every three months.
In April, with support from Global Giving, HealthRight provided new microscopes to six health facilities. These microscopes, which are necessary in order to diagnose malaria, work with electricity or with regular sunlight when electricity isn’t available. The six microscopes will be of great help in these very remote facilities.
Each month, the HealthRight project organizes and supports ten outreach clinics in remote villages. These outreach clinics offer health services out in the communities to those families that can’t easily get to the health facilities to see a doctor. In the past three months, 1,800 community members were treated through one of the outreach clinics.
Mosquito Net Distributions:
This quarter, HealthRight was responsible for transporting 5,200 LLITNs to remote health facilities in four of the five districts. Although supply of nets has been limited in the past six months due to a national-level shortage, facilities are reporting that demand for them has increased, which is a good indication that the community messages are making a difference.
Community health workers collect information about the use of mosquito nets during their household visits. While use among children has remained steady, the community health workers are measuring a positive trend in the percentage of pregnant women that are sleeping under the nets. This is a good indication that prevention messages are leading to a change in behaviors.
HealthRight is still waiting for additional funding from Global Giving supporters so that we can expand upon the “Malaria Free Community” initiative. The priority needs that have been identified include training for health facility staff on the Treatment of Severe Malaria and a supply of 5,000 rapid diagnostic tests to the health facilities to improve diagnosis before the onset of the high malaria season.
In the past three months, HealthRight’s project has provided information about malaria prevention to over 14,600 people by organizing 96 community events in schools, churches and community markets. In addition, HealthRight has supported 1,050 trained community health workers to visit the homes of 15,600 families. During these household visits the health workers provide education about malaria and referrals to the health facilities for malaria services like testing and treatment.
Since October, over 18,600 people have been tested for malaria in the 21 health centers where HealthRight works. And, over 25,500 people have received the essential life saving medicines that are needed to treat the illness.
Each month, the malaria project organizes and supports ten outreach clinics in remote villages and offer health services to those that can’t easily access the health facilities. In the past three months, the project documented 2,130 community members that were able to receive health services through one of the outreach clinics.
HealthRight is awaiting additional resources to expand upon the “Malaria Free Community” initiative which will bring integrated malaria testing, treatment and prevention services directly to 1,000 households. Clinical staff and supplies will travel by medical van to each of the households and offer malaria testing for all cases of fever. For those with malaria, the clinical team will offer medication and make sure that the household has a mosquito net to prevent future cases. To complete these activities, HealthRight is seeking an additional $8,200. The funds will reduce the risk of death from malaria for over 3,000 children in this rural community.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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