Two week s ago, PSJ’s community health team visited Tegina community. It was the team’s second visit to the community this year 2015. The malaria outreach focused on clinical consultations, health education of caregivers about how to prevent malaria and detect danger signs of malaria, as well as distribution of vitamin A supplements to children under five. For some of the women, it was the first time in their lifetime that they welcomed community health workers into their homes to receive health education on malaria prevention and how to detect danger signs in children who have come down with malaria. While the health worker was talking to a group of women about how malaria complication can quickly snuff the lives of children if untreated early enough, it reminded me of the death of my younger brother (aged about two years then) who succumbed to malaria some years back in our village. It happened so quickly within a few days that he developed fever. That single incidence was both devastating and traumatic for me even up till today, especially with all the knowledge that I now have about malaria prevention and treatment. The truth is, my brother would not and should not have died, had my parents known more about how to detect danger signs of malaria early enough. Because of this personal tragedy, I vowed to wage war against malaria for the rest of my life; to prevent the fate of other children following the same path as my late brother.
To our donors, your donations have enabled this project to sustain the offensive campaign against malaria. Thank you for your generosity. Within the next couple of weeks, we will be distributing additional 2000 Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) procured through a generous donation from Wellspring Advisors, a private philanthropic advisory firm with offices in New York, NY and Washington, DC. The ITNs will be distributed free to children under five, nursing mothers and pregnant women in 3 rural communities in rural Niger State. Recent research finding show that regular use of ITNs can reduce mortality due to malaria in children by as much as 30percent. Our team will continue to seek resources to expand our offensive beyond Mashegu to reach children in rural communities who are constantly under attack from malaria.
On behalf of the communities we serve, we express our sincere gratitude to you our individual and corporate donors who made financial contributions to this project so far. We know some of you have donated over and over again to this project. Just imagine how many more children would have died of malaria without your donation this year. Thank you very much for all your support!
PSJ’s malaria prevention outreach activities continue to impact positively on the overall health and well-being of people in poor communities in rural Niger State. The project staff continue to work under very challenging security environment in northern Nigeria.
As the rainy season approaches, the period when malaria transmission is highest, the project has stepped up awareness creation and sensitization of individuals and families on simple environmental engineering and behaviour modifications that can help them eliminate malaria vector (female anopheles mosquitoes) breeding sites in and around their homes. Families especially pregnant women were also educated on the importance of sleeping inside insecticide treated nets and on the need to receive Intermittent malaria Prophylaxis Treatment (IPT), to protect their unborn babies against malaria. We also continue to support health facilities in the use of malaria Rapid Diagnostic kits for proper diagnosis of malaria so that appropriate treatment can be instituted in a timely manner. Also during outreach activities, PSJ’s malaria team 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 the under-5 children is due to delays in instituting treatment for such children.Within this reporting period, we conducted outreaches in Agwara, Magama and Kashin communities. The project reached 530 pregnant mothers and 865 children under-5 with targeted prophylaxis, treatment and/ or insecticide treated nets.
Our malaria team also continued to focus on both health facility and school-based malaria education sessions for pregnant women (during antenatal sessions) and children in the rural communities we serve. Children who participated in these health education sessions now serve as messengers, taking what they have learnt to their various homes. One of the testimonials is that of a 6year old pupil, Hadiza, who took the malaria prevention message she learnt when our malaria team visited her school home, and succeeded in persuading her expectant mother to go to the clinic for antenatal care so she (mother) can benefit from IPT (malaria prevention treatment given to pregnant women at intervals). She also pleaded with her father to clear the vegetation in their house and remove all containers that could serve as mosquito breeding ground around their home.
Finally, we express our profound gratitude to all our individual donors who support the work we do, most of whom have donated over and over again to this project. We are also especially grateful to our corporate donors such as Wellspring Advisors for the massive donation to this project. Thank you for supporting the work we do. Your support to our work is our biggest strength. On behalf of the communities we serve, we say thank you for all your donations.
For this end-of-year update, we bring you the story of how your donations saved the life of Malik, a six year old boy (see attached picture) who lives with his parents in one of the scattered remote settlements around Faje village. Our team was moved by the resilience of Malik’s mother who hoped against all odds when Malik was attacked by malaria. Residing in a remote settlement where no health facility or trained health personnel exists, Malik’s mother had resigned the situation of her child to fate when he came down with malaria. Fortunately for her, this period coincided with the scheduled period of our mobile clinic team’s outreach visit to Faje. Hope came in the horizon as soon as a neighbor announced to her that the Mobile Clinic Team had arrived Faje, the village neighboring her settlement. However, by the time she brought Malik to the Mobile clinic post beside the village head’s palace, the line of waiting patients had swelled with hundreds of women and their babies already lined to be attended to by the consulting physician who led the Mobile Clinic Team.
Rather than despair or turn back, Malik’s mother persevered and quietly stood on the queue for over three hours. When it finally reached her turn to present her child to the consulting physician, she narrated her ordeal, and told the doctor that Malik had been running high fever with occasional vomiting for five days before presentation, and was slowly slipping away as his health condition continued to deteriorate day after day since the illness began. Unfortunately she and her husband could not afford to take them to the nearest rural hospital facility in the township due to lack of routine transport services to convey Malik, as well as the anticipated unaffordable medical bill if they succeeded in making the trip.
After medical consultations and laboratory test using a rapid diagnostic kit, Malik was diagnosed of acute malaria with associated anemia (reduction in red blood level due to breakdown of red blood cells probably due to delay in treatment). He was placed on Artesunate Combination Therapy (ACT) at no cost to his parents. Five days later, young Malik made a full recovery. Malik’s parents were full of praise and gratitude to all those who donated and supported the malaria clinic outreach; for providing life-saving health services to poor and vulnerable families like theirs right at their door-step.
Just like Malik’s parents, outreach after outreach, mother, fathers, parents and communities continue to express their profound gratitude and appreciation to you our donors for saving the lives of their children, for reaching out to them with your heartfelt donations that enables us continue to serve them. On behalf of these families and communities, we express our deepest appreciation you our donors, for your enormous financial support and donations, which for most part has been recurring; you have donated over and over again to this project. This December, we reached and crossed the 16000th child with malaria treatment and 3000th nursing mother with Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN); thanks to your generous donations over these past years. That means about 16000 more children’s lives saved!
Just imagine how many more children would have died of malaria without your donation?
As the rains soak the grounds of rural Mashegu this period between July and September, PSJ's team of a community physician, a nurse and two community health extension workers, also continue to hit the ground to lead the fight against malaria in rural communities of Mashegu; with malaria clinic outreach activities conducted in rural Kwati, Faje and Makera villages during this period of peak rainy season in rural Mashegu, and this year 2014 was certainly not an exception. The rains have been especially very intense in the past one month, with the resultant increase in the malaria vector breeding sites that inevitably leads to more malaria cases among children and pregnant mothers. That is why our team focused outreach activities in these three rural communities struggling with inadequate health care resources in rural Mashegu.
During the outreach, our medical team offered pregnant mothers malaria prophylaxis and treatment. 450 villagers received malaria prevention education, including environmental sanitation and the importance of sleeping under an insecticide treated net. With the assistance of the new Rapid Diagnostic Test technology, our team was able test and treats 200 children and 110pregnant mothers for acute malaria.
On behalf of the communities we serve, we express our sincere gratitude to all our donors who made financial contributions to this project so far. We know some of you have donated over and over again to this project. Gradually, we are inching towards achieving our overall goal.
Thank you very much. Through your donation, we have offered life-saving malaria treatment to hundreds of children and pregnant women. Just imagine how many more children in rural Mashegu would have succumbed to the clutches of malaria without your donation?
Faje, one of the first remote villages to benefit from ‘Preventing Childhood Malaria Deaths in rural Mashegu’ hosted our mobile clinic and malaria prevention outreach team in February and March 2014.
As part of the outreach activities, malaria prevention education was provided to nursing mothers and pregnant women with the aim of boosting malaria prevention health behaviours among this group. The group health education on environmental sanitation provided a unique opportunity for the malaria team to educate families about malaria prevention. In particular, elimination of mosquito breeding sites was emphasized as we approach the onset of rainy season from May to October when malaria transmission and mortality is highest. Our malaria team 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 infants is due to delays in instituting treatment for such children.
Children under-5 and pregnant women are the most vulnerable groups to malaria attacks and deaths in this region. National statistics shows that more than 50percent of pregnant women from rural villages such as Faje will experience 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, and low birth weight.
The malaria team provided every pregnant woman in the village with intermittent preventive treatment, and sensitized them on 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). All pregnant mothers and children had the opportunity to get tested; thanks to the Rapid Malaria Diagnostic Test Kit that is now available at no cost. Eighty seven children and pregnant mothers were diagnosed and received malaria treatment using the Artesunate-Combination Therapy (ACT) as recommended by the Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the WHO.
Our outreach to remote villages such as Faje 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 malaria medicines and pay for transport costs to visit these communities. Your donations have made such a huge difference in the lives of dozens of these poor rural mothers and children. Donations like yours have added up to save the lives of dozens of children, pregnant mothers and their babies in these communities we serve. We are very grateful to you our donors who support the work we do. Your relentless support to our work has been our biggest strength. On behalf of the communities we serve, we say thank you for making it possible for us to reach remote communities like Faje on continuous basis.
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P. O. Box 18 Kontagora,
Health Program Associate
P. O. Box 18 Kontagora,