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Apr 6, 2009

Malaria project update from the field; Mullo village

A benefiting family shows off their ITN
A benefiting family shows off their ITN

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.

A young beneficiary of free antimalaria treatmen
A young beneficiary of free antimalaria treatmen
community demostration session on use of ITN
community demostration session on use of ITN
Nov 11, 2008

Field update from Tunga-magaji, Maisara and Nassarawa

Usually, the period between June and September marks the peak of rainy season in rural mashegu. This year was certainly not an exception. The rainy season characteristically witnesses malaria vector (mosquito) multiplication and increase in breeding sites that inevitably leads to more malaria attacks especially for children.

For this quarter (June – September 2008), the PSJ malaria control team concentrated our malaria control outreach activities in three rural communities that lack any form of modern health facilities. These communities represented areas where children were most vulnerable during the peak malaria attack season. They include Tunga-Magajia, Maiasara, and Nassarawa-mullo.

As is typical of peak rainy season, the biggest challenge we faced was that of logistics to reach remote villages like Tunga-Magajia due to the dilapidated un-motor able state of the roads leading to the villages. It was difficult to get through even with motorcycles. What remained of the existing road was so marshy and waterlogged that it very difficult for one to put his feet down on the ground. Meandering through the bush paths to get the desperately needed services to children in those villages was even more difficult.

Despite these challenges, our malaria control team treated a total of 556 children who had acute attacks of malaria. 112 infants received anti-malaria prophylaxis. Due to dwindling resources, we were able to distribute only 123 insecticide treated nets during this quarter.

On behalf of the villagers and the children we serve, we wish to express our sincere gratitude to all the 38 donors who made financial contributions to this project so far. We know some of you have donated more the once to this project. Some have even made up to 4donations. Thank you so much! Through your donations, many children’s lives have been saved and many more children were able to stay in school to get more out of their education.

Also recently, just last month, we conducted an intensive three-day training program for 40 teachers in 15 rural primary schools on ‘the prevention, early detection and first-Aid treatment of simple malaria’ for pupils in their school. Each of the 15 participating schools also got a fully stocked first-Aid box with anti-malaria medicines (for prophylaxis and treatment). The training was made possible through a grant that PSJ received from American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and the Global Fund for Children (GFC).

For those children who live in villages without any modern basic health facility, this new innovative arrangement has become life-saving as their schools now serve dual purposes as centers for learning as well as centers for health promotion. For these children, the school represents the center of their community life.

May 27, 2008

Updates from the field

A nursing mother receives insecticide treated net for her baby
A nursing mother receives insecticide treated net for her baby

During the period from Early April to Mid May, PSJ’s malaria project team comprising a primary care physician, a community health nurse and two community health extension workers conducted malaria control outreach activities in five rural communities namely Sabon-rijia, Bokwai, inner-Mashegu, Manigi and Sahon-rami in Mashegu. The team distributed 556 insecticide treated nets to 509 children under-five and 47 pregnant women. At Sahon-rami which serve as both the project base and field office of Physicians for Social Justice, there was a massive turnout of villagers mostly women and children to witness the demonstration sessions on how to use the insecticide treated nets. The mobile team also treated 321 cases of malaria in children and administered antimalarials chemo-prophylaxis to 71 pregnant women. Communities elders in all the five villages were very grateful for the nets given to their women and children and expressed their gratitude to all those who donated the insecticide treated nets that their communities are benefiting from. Also during this past month, a total of about 3600 individuals in rural Mashegu have received health education and behaviour change communication messages about malaria vector (mosquito) eradication and personal protection from mosquito bites. The health education aspect of this ‘Preventing Childhood Malaria Death Project’ is particularly important as we approach the peak of rainy season in this region when the transmission and attack rates of malaria are highest due to increase in vector breeding sites brought about by increased vegetation around dwelling environments. The project team is very grateful for all those who made donations to this Malaria project since inception. Your donations through the Global Giving Foundation has no doubt saved hundreds of children from repeated deadly episodes of malaria attacks. At Manigi village, the project team encountered a mother who trekked about 10 kilometers on foot from a neuighbouring village to present her nine months old baby for treatment. She heard the news about the visit of our malaria team who will be offering free malaria treatment to children from one of her friends. The mobile team treated her sick child and equally provided her with an insecticide treated net. She was full of gratitude to our sponsors and all those who provided the resources that made it possible for her baby to get both free malaria treatment and a treated bed net.

Women line up to receive treated nets at sabon-rijia village
Women line up to receive treated nets at sabon-rijia village
PSJ project team demostrating how to use nets to women in Sahon
PSJ project team demostrating how to use nets to women in Sahon
 
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