Our Project staff regularly monitor the activities which we fund in the villages and in October they undertook a detailed survey of a sample of the first aid workers who are the key people involved in improving children's health in the villages. They surveyed 10 first aid workers in 8 of our villages. This survey helped us to get a better picture of the activities of the first aid workers and the way in which they contribute to improving health in the villages. In total 80 patients had been treated and 20% of these had been transferred to the local hospitals. Almost half of the patients treated are children under 10 years old. The most common illnesses treated are diarhhoea, chest infections, malaria and inflamed eyes. Another important part of their work is immunization and they have participated in 18 vaccination campaigns against polio, measles and meningitis - this is of incalculable benefit in protecting children from these potentially killer diseases and makes a huge contribution to improving the health of the children in the villages. The first aid workers also reported that their main activity in the villages is raising health awareness and advising villagers on adopting hygienic methods including the use of latrines.
Darfur is presently suffering an outbreak of yellow fever and there is no vaccination or treatment available. The only protection from the transmitting mosquito comes through mosquito nets. It is therefore fortunate that we have provided mosquito nets to all of the poor households which we support in our villages and so their children are being protected from the threat of yellow fever. We feel so grateful at this to all of you who have supported us that we have been able to help these families to keep their children safe and healthy.
The 55 first aid workers trained in April are now active in their villages providing vital assistance in emergencies and providing on-going health education focusing particularly on helping mothers to improve the nutrition of their young children. For the first time mothers have guidance on how to feed their babies and infants and simple messages can have a marked impact on reducing malnutrition.
Another intervention which KIDS FOR KIDS undertakes to improve the health of children is the provision of mosquito nets as malaria is a major killer of children. We are pleased to report that 436 mosquito nets have been distributed in the last few months to the poorest families which we are supporting in the six villages which have been adopted by KIDS FOR KIDS during 2011/12. Thus 30 households in Elfaki Ali, 52 in Umlayuna, 40 in Seweilinga, 21 in Hilat Khabir, 22 in Amar Jaded and 39 in Mugabil have received mosquito nets with each household receiving 2 mosquito nets. The families have also received training in re-treating the nets to ensure their continued effectiveness. Based on past experience we are hopeful that we shall see a significant reduction in the incidence of malaria amongst the children of these families.
Key actors in improving children's health in the villages in Darfur are the first aid workers who, in addition to providing front line treatment for minor ailments, are actively engaged in health education. A very important aspect of this is working with mothers in the care of their children focusing particularly on nutrition as so many of the children are malnourished, and this is at least partly due to mothers' lack of knowledge of the nutritious qualities of foods which are around in the village. So it is good to be able to report that 55 volunteer first aid workers from 31 villages received their training from 1-15 April. This means that all of the 60 villages supported by KIDS FOR KIDS have at least one trained first aid worker and most of them have two first aid workers so that they are able to support each other. On completion of their training the first aid workers were provided with a starter kit containing basic equipment and medicines. Each first aid worker was also provided with a cross bred donkey to enable them to reach people in need quickly.
Malaria is a major cause of death amongst children and so we are pleased to report that 332 mosquito nets were distributed in February 2012 to the poorest households in the villages which we adopted for support in 2011, namely Amar Gadid, Elfaki Ali, Um Layouna, Hillat Kabir and Siwailinga. This means that the children in these families now have protection at night from mosquitos and the likelihood of them catching malaria is significantly reduced. This will bring great peace of mind to many anxious mothers.
The key actors in improving the health of the children are the village first aid workers. The villages above have all selected their volunteers to be trained as village health workers and we have now signed the agreement with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society to undertake the training. This training is expected to take place in March. This training will cover basic first aid techniques, health and hygiene and nutrition. This training equips the first aid workers to be health educators in the village particularly amongst mothers and their children helping them to improve the nutririon of their children and the prevention and management of prevalent diseases particularly respiratory infections and diarrhoea. The training takes the form of specialised video presentations backed up by workbooks, demonstrations and practical applications.
The first aid workers work in close partnership with the village midwives in dealing with infants and young children and their mothers and their focus is very much on preventative medicine. The trainee village midwives from these villages as well as from some of the other villages supported by KIDS FOR KIDS - 40 in total - started their year long training in February 2012.
All these services are so important to the villagers and are very highly valued. We are only able to provide these services because of the support which we receive from our wonderful band of supporters and we, and all the peoole in the communities in Darfur, are extremely grateful for your support. You are making a contribution which truly does make a difference and change lives.
We are pleased to announce that KIDS FOR KIDS has recently selected the 60th village to be supported with our integrated programme of activities. The village is Mugabil which is located 40 kms north of the provincial capital, El Fasher. Our local Project staff will be working closely with the village over the coming weeks to explain our ethos of self-reliance and community responsibility for managing all the activities and helping the community to put the necessary structure of village committees in place to manage the project.
In the meantime we are moving ahead on the activities which help to improve children's health for the 5 villages which were brought into the programme in 2011. We have today received three quotations obtained by our Project Manager for the purchase of mosquito nets for distribution to the poorest families and so will shortly be making our selection of the supplier. These mosquito nets have a huge impact on the health of children significantly reducing their exposure to malaria which is a major killer of young children. We will clearly move as quickly as possible in getting the mosquito nets to the villages to provide protection for the children. The same applies to the blankets which will keep the children warm during the winter and will help to reduce the incidence of respiratory infections. Through reducing sickness amongst the children their school attendance improves significantly which is clearly a very positive outcome from the provision of the blankets.
The other activity which contributes significantly to improving children's health is the training of volunteers as first aid workers as these people also do a lot of health education activities with the mothers specifically covering nutrition for children including encouraging them to grow vegetables for their families and how to cope with common childhood illnesses like diarrhoea through making sure that they know about the importance of preventing dehydration. Our Project staff are in discussion with the Sudanese Red Crescent who undertake the training of the first aid workers for us but we are still awaiting a firm date for the next course - we hope it will be in the very near future. The next training course for the village midwives will start on 15 January 2012 for 40 trainees including 2 volunteers from each of the 5 new villages. The village midwives also have an impact on children's health by ensuring that mothers deliver healthy babies and working in partnership with the first aid workers on health education.
Once again I wish to emphasise that we are only able to bring about these changes in the lives of the poorest children in the villages in Darfur through the support of all our donors and we, and the families and communities in Darfur, are eternally grateful for your support.
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CEO & Chairman of Trustees