Benin

 {Photo credit: MSH.}MSH representatives attend the iCCM Symposium. From left to right: Jean Fidele Ilunga Mubay (DRC Ministry of Health), David Collins, Pascaline Hareimana (MSH/Burundi), Papy Luntadila (MSH/DRC), Ciro Franco, Jane Briggs, Naia Embeke Narcisse (MSH/DRC), Colin Gilmartin, Zina Jarrah, Uzaib Saya.Photo credit: MSH.

In the absence of effective treatment and access to quality health services, diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia remain the leading causes of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and cause nearly 44 percent of deaths worldwide in children under five years old. To improve access to life-saving treatment among children, many African countries have begun implementing and scaling-up integrated community case management (iCCM), a strategy that focuses on the delivery of timely and low-cost interventions at the community level by community health workers.

Understanding the potential impact and the importance of iCCM as an effective means to reduce child mortality, more than 400 researchers, donors, government, implementers, and partners representing 35 sub-Saharan African countries convened on March 3-5 in Accra, Ghana for the 2014 Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) Evidence Review Symposium.

The objectives of the Symposium were to review the current state of the art and evidence of iCCM implementation and to assist African countries to integrate and take action on key iCCM findings presented during the evidence symposium. Among those in attendance were 10 Management Sciences for Health (MSH) representatives from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States.

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera.}A Rwandan mother and newborn rest under a bed net.Photo credit: Todd Shapera.

Over one hundred years ago on this date, (August 20, 1897), British scientist Sir Ronald Ross discovered that infected female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. (Like any vector borne disease, the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium, needs a specific host: in this case, the mosquito. The female mosquito needs blood to nourish her eggs; the male just eats nectar.) Dr. Ross received the Nobel Prize for his discovery that year. Today, we mark the day, August 20, as “World Mosquito Day.”

What’s all the buzz about?

A child in sub-Saharan Africa dies every minute as a result of malaria—more than 1,400 children globally every day. Malaria affects about 220 million people, with 80 percent of all cases occurring in just 17 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 660,000 people died from the disease in 2010; most in Africa. Two countries—Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Nigeria—hold 40 percent of the burden of malaria mortality. Despite these challenges, progress is being made: since 2000, malaria mortality rates have dropped 33 percent in Africa, and 25 percent globally (more on malaria from WHO).

MSH President Jonathan D. Quick, age 5. {Photo courtesy of Dr. Quick.}Photo courtesy of Dr. Quick.

Cross-posted on USAID's IMPACT blog

My most vivid early childhood memory is waking up to excruciating pain in my throat, and seeing the goldfish swimming in the aquarium of the pediatric surgical ward. Although penicillin had been discovered 30 years earlier, doctors had not learned yet that treating "strep throats” with penicillin was better than operating. I didn't need the tonsillectomy. But, I was lucky to receive quality care in a health facility, close to my home.

Millions of children today are not so lucky. Over 7 million children under the age of 5 die each year; 70 percent of child deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. The vast majority -- over two-thirds -- are entirely avoidable with existing safe, effective, low-cost prevention and treatment.

Orou Assoumanou describing the work within his community to Dr. Lola Gandaho, of BASICS Benin.

 

Living in the rural village of Kpagnaroung, Benin, Orou Assoumanou is a dedicated health worker who promoted vaccinations and distributed ivermectin (a medicine used to treat roundworm) within his community before receiving training by the MSH-led, USAID BASICS (Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival) project in community-case management. The comprehensive BASICS training improved his ability to offer care and enabled him to treat children within his community.

With the arrival of a trained community health worker able to prescribe medications, members of his community no longer have to travel long distances to seek medical care for their children. In fact, Orou says that crowds would form at his door to receive care.

 

 

 

 

Mobilizing communities in rural Benin to improve health.

The West African nation of Benin faces many challenges in achieving Millennium Development Goal 4---reducing child mortality. In the rural communities in Benin (91% of the population live in rural areas), access to health care and treatment is inadequate in relation to the vast need. Very few people have the appropriate skills and capacity to deliver care in these areas. The US Agency for International Development's (USAID) BASICS Benin project is increasing the capability of villages as far as 50 km away from health centers by training Community Health Workers (CHWs) to perform community case management of children five years-old and under.

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