Malaria ~ Strategies for eradicating a preventable disease

 In A Changing Planet, Environmental Health, Innovation & Hope, Refugees and Migrants

When a child is given a bed net, the whole family benefits…and so does the community. Why?

 

Children receiving bed nets from HopeCore’s Malaria Prevention Program

 

April 25th, 2019 was World Malaria Day and we would like to share some of the strategies that HopeCore uses in their public health program to help eradicate this preventable disease. 

This day is about raising awareness about this preventable illness that claims nearly half a million lives every year, most of those lives are children under the age of 5 living in the African region. 

This day is also about a call to action. The World Health Organization reports that the global response to malaria is at a crossroads, after years of success in tackling the disease, progress has stalled, on World Malaria Day, the global health authorities are recognizing it is time to change this. Time to put malaria eradication back on track. The solution is in our hands. 

Here are the facts from the World Health Organization: 

  1. Malaria Kills a child every two minutes
  2. Malaria is preventable and treatable yet the disease continues to claim nearly half a million people a year. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net is one of the most effective ways to prevent malaria. 
  3. The African Region continues to bear 90% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths worldwide
  4. Left untreated, malaria in pregnancy can lead to maternal death, anemia and low birth weight, a major cause of infant mortality 
  5. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net is one of the most effective ways to prevent malaria. 

Malaria Eradication at HopeCore…changing the future, one net at a time: 

What HopeCore has done: 

24,185 Nets distributed so far to the rural communities of Kenya 

30,000 caregivers have received education on Malaria prevention 

 

 

 

HopeCore team loading mosquito nets for distribution to community members

 

More on Malaria from HopeCore’s White Paper, 2016: 

Malaria eradication is extremely important to our program. 

Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness affecting half of the world’s population. People living in the poorest countries are most susceptible to malaria, the World Health Organization reports that in 2015,  91% of all malaria deaths occurred in Africa. 

Malaria is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito whose peak biting time is from midnight to 3 AM resulting in the majority of infections being transmitted in the early morning hours. Many studies in Africa have documented that the single most effective malaria prevention measure is to ensure that those at risk sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets. With the standard older nets, the insecticide lost its potency after six months requiring re-treatment of the nets every six months, something that historically few villagers did. In the last five years, bed nets have been developed that do not require re-treating for five years. This has markedly improved the efficacy of bed nets in the prevention of malaria.

HopeCore’s malaria prevention and eradication program started in 2009. Through a grant from Giving Hands, HopeCore initiated a net distribution program coupled with health education for pupils and parents. Long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets are distributed to community members, loan clients, and school children, accompanied each time with health education related to malaria prevention. HopeCore then targets 25% of the pupils who received nets to conduct follow up home visits to ensure proper use of the nets.

Insecticide-treated nets reduce child mortality by an average of 18%, and reduce clinical episodes of malaria by 50% on average. Another added benefit of insecticide-treated nets is related to the protection they provide against head lice and bedbugs. 

The WHO Global Malaria Programme asks all national malaria control program partners to include the following in their net interventions: 

  • Purchase only long-lasting insecticidal nets; 
  • Distribute free or highly subsidized LLINs, either directly or through voucher/coupon schemes; 
  • Achieve full LLIN coverage, including in high-transmission areas, by distributing LLINs through existing public health services; 
  • Develop and implement locally appropriate communication and advocacy strategies to promote effective use of LLINs; and 
  • Implement strategies to sustain high levels of LLIN coverage in parallel with strategies for achieving rapid scale-up. 

Our malaria eradication program effectively responds to each component of the WHO recommendations. 

HopeCore’s malaria eradication programs have been very successful over the years through our community distributions, loan client distribution, and school distribution

Children five years and under are more susceptible to malaria than other age groups, and therefore net distributions will specifically target these children. By giving the nets to the first class entering each primary school, HopeCore will cover more schools per year. Furthermore, because CHWs have observed that many children share beds, HopeCore feels that more children than only those directly receiving nets will be covered, and children across the entire sub-county will be covered with nets, rather than only those attending specific schools. Additionally, according to the CDC, having an insecticide-treated mosquito net in the household can contribute to less mosquitoes in the house as a whole, thus offering benefit to individuals sleeping under the treated net, as well as those who are not sleeping under a treated net. 

HopeCore continued the regularly planned malaria eradication program by distributing nets to primary schools in the Maara Sub-County. HopeCore has distributed approximately 24,185 anti-malarial nets to the community since the initiations of this project. 

On a yearly basis, HopeCore visits each primary school in the Sub-County (150 schools) and give the entering class mosquito nets. The nets are long-lasting and insecticide-treated, and they will have coverage for five years. 

According to the WHO, 5.5 lives can be saved every year for every 1,000 children under 5 years of age protected. Therefore, HopeCore’s malaria prevention program alone has saved 105 lives since its inception. 

As outlined above, malaria prevention education is a significant part of our Health Days and more specifically our Child and Maternal Health Program. What is outlined here is a supporting aspect of the program. 

Want to sponsor a school of children with bed nets? 

Visit our Kids Helping Kids project and make a contribution today! 

 

 

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