A community health worker carries her baby
Health Poverty Action would like to say ‘Thank You!’ for supporting our health project through GlobalGiving – ‘Malaria Prevention for Women and Children.’
Health Poverty Action is working to reduce the prevalence and impact of malaria among pregnant women and children in the Bombali District of Sierra Leone. The project entered its second year in September, and a number of activities have been carried out over the last few months.
Community Health Workers are well recognised and highly respected in their communities; most live in villages with limited access to health services. Their engagement with the project has made it possible for Health Poverty Action to reach their communities with vital health messages. Dialogue sessions between Peripheral Health Unit staff and Community Health Workers on the use of Remote Diagnostic Testing (travelling malaria units, allowing staff to test in hard to reach settlements) were conducted in November. They also provided an opportunity for staff and health workers discuss the challenges encountered whilst working at community level. Monthly community dialogue sessions for malaria prevention have been facilitated by community health workers, where they have worked closely with village committees (VDCs).
The Independent Radio Network has developed and produced 35 short radio dramas to run alongside the project - some including generic malaria prevention messages and some with specific messages based on feedback from community health workers on current prevailing malaria issues at community level. These radio dramas will be aired soon.
The teachers, mentioned in our previous report, have been trained and are running sessions with school health clubs. Two teachers per school are holding sessions for 2,000 school pupils every month as peer educators. They will continue to teach the children about various topics related to malaria such as: what causes it, signs and symptoms, breeding grounds and treatment available both at the community and health facility level.
In addition to this progress, we’ve been able to provide storage facilities for the Peripheral Health Units enabling them to store data collection tools as well as the data collected. Quarterly ‘data analysis & report sharing’ meetings have been held across the project area. These meetings have been instrumental in helping staff understand the relevance of data and the difference their work is making.
Your kind support has enabled us to build on the training of the past year and improve the help available to mothers and children in an area where malaria rates are high amongst expectant mothers. Maintaining a space for community dialogue, ensuring the education of young men and women in health-related issues and using sophisticated techniques such as Remote Diagnostic Testing and radio shows will help reduce the spread of malaria. There is still more to be done in helping these communities secure their right to health, but progress is being made every day.
Verity and the Team at Health Poverty Action
A Maternity Ward
Village Development Committee