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Nov 7, 2017

The harmattan season outreah in rural Kontagora

Hamarttan outreach Rural Kontagora
Hamarttan outreach Rural Kontagora

As we approach the end of the rainy season, we can only be grateful to all our donors for your generosity these past months in supporting our malaria team with the required medicines, diagnostic tools and medical supplies that enabled us effectively serve the communities that form part of our catchment areas for were malaria control efforts during the peak rainy season, when malaria transmission and deaths are usually highest. Through your generous donations and support, we reached 2400 families and households in eight rural villages with targeted malaria interventions including free distribution of insecticide treated nets, malaria prevention education and chemoprophylaxis. Our service delivery efforts were focused mainly on pregnant women and under-five children who are among the most vulnerable groups to malaria attacks and deaths in this region. We also boosted malaria prevention health behaviours among vulnerable families residing in remote rural villages that we have prioritized in our work. Nigeria’s malaria statistics shows that more than 50percent of pregnant women will have at least one episode of malaria during pregnancy which in some cases progresses to severe anemia-in-pregnancy (low blood levels in the body, resulting in increased risk of maternal and child deaths.

During our last outreach in rural Kontagora, our team treated 154 children for malaria attack using artesunate combination therapy (ACT), and also provided 42 pregnant women with Intermittent Prophylactic Treatment (IPT), as recommended by World Health Organization. The malaria team also educated caregivers about the importance of environmental sanitation (clearing bushes around their houses and not leaving any standing objects that could collect stagnant water), early clinical signs and symptoms, the role of mosquitoes, the need for early diagnosis and treatment and using insecticide treated nets, as well as the importance of seeking early treatment at the earliest suspicion of malaria (fever and or generalized body weakness), from the two trained community-oriented resource health volunteers resident in their communities.

On behalf of the children and communities we serve, Physicians for Social Justice is immensely grateful to all our donors for donating generously to our malaria project through GlobalGiving platform. We thank you very much for your generosity. We thank you in a special way for donating over and over again to this project. Indeed, this Preventing Childhood Malaria Deaths Project has come a long way. In the coming months, we shall be telling you the extent of the impact you have made in the lives of children and people in the communities we serve over these past years. We are indeed very grateful. The children, women and the entire villagers are very grateful as well. Because of you, we have beautiful testimonies from the likes of Salamatu, a 22 year old - "Thank you for visiting our village with your health workers and free medicines for our children. Now that I have been given a mosquito net ( ITN), I will have less to worry about malaria for my 1-year old son again. Thank you for treating diagnosing and treating her for malaria free of charge.  We thank all who paid for the nets on our behalf".

RDT session Hamarttan outreach Rural Kontagora
RDT session Hamarttan outreach Rural Kontagora
Jul 26, 2017

Kawo Village mOutreach

8 month old Hannatu & her mother
8 month old Hannatu & her mother

“With this Long Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN), my infant daughter now has a chance to live through her first and fifth birthday and beyond. I have witnessed the deaths of other young children in our village, who developed high fever and convulsions and succumbed to their illness, which was most likely malaria. Thank you Likita (Doctor) for giving us this mosquito net (LLIN), help us to thank all those who provided the resources for you and your health team to visit our community. We cannot thank them enough”. The above statements were the elated remarks of the mother of eight (8) month old baby Hannatu, who was among the beneficiaries of our LLIN distribution and malaria treatment outreach under the ‘Preventing Childhood Malaria Deaths in rural Mashegu’ project of Physicians for Social Justice, PSJ. In early July 2017, our mobile health team conducted an integrated malaria outreach visit to Hannatu’s community, Kawo, a rural village inhabited mainly by poor peasant farmers who are daily confronted with poor health and sanitation facilities, that often results in preventable deaths among infants.

Having witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of malaria in the lives of infants and young children, Hannatu’s mother fully appreciates what difference just one Long Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) can make in the life of her infant daughter. So, when she heard the village announcer going round the village to announce the arrival of PSJ's outreach health team, she hurried to the village square to stand in the LLIN distribution queue and waited patiently until she received one. She was extremely elated, and could not hide her joy. Like Hannatu’s mother, hundreds of mothers in rural Mashegu recognize that receiving an LLIN or timely malaria treatment for their sick children, is often what makes the difference between life and death for their infants and young children.

The outreach to Kawo village offered both preventive and clinical health services that included the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test Kit (RDT) to confirm malaria case, distribution of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets to children and pregnant women, treatment of malaria confirmed cases with Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT), as well as health talk on environmental hygiene targeted at malaria prevention.

A total of 104 sick children and 52 adults including pregnant women tested for malaria using RDT kit. Of this number, 56 children (30 males and 26 females) tested positive for malaria, and were treated with Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT). Also, 120 LLINs was distributed to households having under-five children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

The integrated nature of the outreach also enabled the health team to administer Vitamin A supplementation and de-worming medicines (albendazole) to children under-five. Also, 113 adults (26 men, 63women, mostly pregnant women) received HIV testing and counselling.

For some of the project beneficiaries in Kawo and other villages we recently visited, including pregnant women and children, it was the first time they had an LLIN either of their own or for their infants/ young children. Because of this project, tens of hundreds of children in rural Mashegu and surrounding villages achieved the milestone of witnessing their fifth birthday alive.  Because of this project, thousands of nursing mothers were saved the nightmare of sleepless nights due to high fevers, convulsions and associated complications attributable to malaria.

This malaria health outreach to Kawo community was sponsored chiefly from the massive donation we received via the Ford Foundation Matching Gift Program which was made possible by our staunchest supporter; Bess Rothenberg, PhD, who also continues to make recurring personal donations to this project. We also acknowledge the immeasurable contributions of all our other donors whose donations have made it possible for us to procure medical supplies including Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets, malaria medicines (Artesunate Combination Therapy, ACTs), Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits as well as to pay for transport costs for health workers (community physicians, nurses and midwives, pharmacy & laboratory technicians) to reach these remote rural villages to provide life-saving clinical and preventive health services. On behalf of the communities we serve, we thank you immensely for all your donations and support to this project. The testimonies of project beneficiaries such as the mother of 8 month-old Hannatu demonstrates beyond doubt, the positive health outcome and impact of your donations to the health and wellbeing of children in these rural communities. Thank you very much!

Long Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) benefiary
Long Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) benefiary
malaria outreach clinic Kawo village
malaria outreach clinic Kawo village
8 month old Hannatu carried by health team member
8 month old Hannatu carried by health team member
HW providing mProphylaxis & LLIN to pregnant women
HW providing mProphylaxis & LLIN to pregnant women
Apr 24, 2017

Your Donations Supported our rural Kwati Outreach

A suspected malaria patient undergoing RDT testing
A suspected malaria patient undergoing RDT testing

For this reporting period (Q1 2017), our malaria outreach team revisited Kwati village, a small village in rural Mashegu, which lacks modern health infrastructure and health personnel. The only village health volunteers in the community are those training by Physicians for Social Justice, PSJ, to provide essential first aid services to vulnerable children and families affected by HIV under the REACH project (Rapid and Effective Action Combatting HIV, which PSJ implemented in the community between 2011 and 2014).

As is the usual practice, our team paid courtesy visit to the village head and his council of elders on arrival. The village head and elders welcomed the malaria outreach team and expressed their gratitude to all the donors who made financial donations that enabled their people to benefit from the project. Thereafter, the outreach team proceeded to the village square where the community members and patients were already gathered and anxiously waiting. In order to provide maximal health benefit to the community members, the outreach was synchronized with other health promotion packages including distribution of multivitamins to pregnant women and lactating mothers; Albendazole (deworming treatment) and vitamin A supplementation for children under-five (made possible thru donations from Vitamin Angels) ; as well as HIV Counselling and Testing (HTC) offered to all community members.

Our outreach medical team comprised a consulting physician, two nurses, laboratory technician, and one pharmacy technician, provided both preventive and curative malaria services to both children and pregnant mothers free of charge. All cases of fever among children and pregnant women that presented to the consulting physician during the outreach were subjected Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) to diagnose malaria. Those who tested positive were immediately provided with the full course of Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT), made possible by you, our donors.

Also, Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LL-ITNs) were distributed free-of-charge to pregnant women and households with children under-five.

Immediate results of the outreach include;

  • 54 children who presented with fever (24 male and 30 female) were tested for malaria using RDT kit, 38 children (15 and 23 female) tested positive for malaria, and they were treated with full doses of Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT).
  • 98 LLINs was distributed to households having under-five children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
  • 34 pregnant and nursing mothers who presented with fever were tested for malaria using RDT kit, 24 tested positive for malaria, and they were treated with full doses of Artsemsinin Combination Therapy (ACT) free of charge.
  • 165 households received malaria prevention education with specific focus on behaviour change and environment sanitation. Trained IPC facilitators used the local dialect to educate community members on how malaria is transmitted, early signs and symptoms, the role of mosquitoes, the need for early diagnosis and treatment especially for children and how malaria attacks can be prevented through environmental sanitation.

 At the end of the malaria outreach, community members expressed their deep grateful to all those who made the malaria outreach possible, most especially all our global giving donors. A 26 year old mother testified as follows- "During your last visit to our community some months ago, my two-year old son was having persistent fever for four days. We treated him with local herbs but the fever had persisted. I did not know what to do, and was already losing hope until the malaria team visited our village that fateful day. The doctor tested my son and said that he is suffering from malaria. The doctor gave him some medicines, and asked that I give him the rest at home for three days. The medicines worked like magic, the fever disappeared by the second day. My son has now fully recovered. They taught us that people who sleep under ITN are less likely to suffer malaria attack, and I make sure he sleeps under and ITN now, which was also given to us by the malaria team. They did not collect any money from me or the other women. Everything was given to us free of charge. They said some good people have already paid for the medicines and the ITNs. May God bless those who donated the medicines and the sleeping nets to us".

Once more, the testimonies of beneficiaries such as the 26 year old mother goes to show the depth of the impact of your donations in the lives of people in these communities we serve. Your donations made it possible for us to procure medical supplies such as the Insecticide treated Nets, malaria medicines including ACTs as well as pay for transport costs for the malaria team to reach these remote rural villages. Those five, ten dollars, and 200 dollars recurring donations, have added up to make such a huge difference in the lives of dozens of these poor rural dwellers. Your donations will save the lives of dozens of infants and young children as this year’s rainy season beckons; the period when malaria attack and deaths are highest.

Thank you very much for your generosity even in this hard economic period. Remain blessed!

A young ITN beneficiary
A young ITN beneficiary
 
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