Update from the field October 2009 to January 2010
By Chukwumuanya Igboekwu MD, MPH
Consolidating on our new strategy of targeted house to house malaria prevention campaign, our malaria project continues to make positive impact in the life of people in poor communities in rural Mashegu. The new strategy is much more effective as it provides us the opportunity to offer customized recommendations to individual families on simple environmental engineering and behaviour modifications that will eliminate malaria vector breeding sites.
Within this reporting period, we conducted outreaches in four villages, namely Bokwai, Kaboji, Sabon-rijia and Mulo. The project reached 1300 vulnerable households with targeted malaria prevention education, prophylaxis, treatment and insecticide treated nets. The house to house visits provided a unique opportunity for the malaria team to educate families about malaria prevention through environmental sanitation. In particular, elimination of mosquito breeding sites was emphasized as we approach the onset of rainy season when malaria transmission is highest.
We 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 under five children is due to delays in instituting treatment for such children. Thousands of young children who suffer acute attacks of malaria frequently develop complications such as anaemia and convulsions, because they do not receive prompt treatment, and such complications are usually the cause of their death.
Our malaria team also continued to focus on school-based malaria education sessions for 450 children in the four community primary schools in these villages. Children who participate in these educational sessions now serve as messengers, taking what they have learnt to their various homes. There is the case of Abdullahi, an 8 year old primary 3 pupil, who after participating in our malaria education session went home and convinced his father to embark on environmental sanitation; to clear the vegetations in their house and remove all stagnant water in their surroundings in order to eliminate mosquito (malaria vector) breeding grounds.
We are very grateful to all our donors who support the work we do. We are very grateful to you. Thank you for supporting the work we do. Your unrelentless support to our work has been our biggest strength. On behalf of the communities we serve, we say thank you for all your support.