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
community demostration session on use of ITN