malaria

{Photo Credit: Todd Shapera}Photo Credit: Todd Shapera

We have made great strides in ridding the world of malaria, but there’s still work to be done—and the time is right to finish the job. New technology is helping communities around the world prevent, diagnose, and treat malaria in new and innovative ways. In Mozambique, the Malaria Consortium has developed a phone app that helps community health workers diagnose and treat malaria. In Zanzibar, Tanzania, local health facilities can use text messages to report malaria cases. And Mali uses a system called OSPSANTE, developed by the MSH-led, USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) project, to track the availability and use of pharmaceuticals in the fight against malaria.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}Amina is one of 3 million children in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa who received seasonal malaria chemoprevention malaria in 2015.Photo credit: MSH staff

Four-year-old Amina is why I work on malaria. I met her in Basse District, The Gambia, last year when I was visiting the team distributing lifesaving malaria treatment to children under five. Words can’t describe the feeling of seeing this young Gambian girl, who had been severely ill with malaria, now beaming with joy, literally running to me for her fourth treatment.

Her mother walked up and described to me how sick Amina had been before MSH and partners began ensuring access to the quality-assured malaria treatments for children under five in the district. Since she first got malaria as an infant, every year during the rainy season (from September through December), Amina would become severely ill with malaria. She couldn’t play with the other kids outside, or go to school. One year, she fell into a coma and was hospitalized. But, in 2015, Amina experienced the opportunity for a healthy life: since September, she had received monthly treatment for malaria, known as seasonal malaria chemoprevention (or SMC). At four years old, Amina knew that this was what stopped her from feeling so ill, and enabled her to feel well.

She ran towards me for her medication, smiling ear to ear.

 {Photo credit: Ghaffar Rabiu}Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, Country Director, MSH Nigeria, is interviewed at the 10th anniversary event.Photo credit: Ghaffar Rabiu

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) celebrated 10 Years of Improving the Health of Women and Children in Nigeria with 250 stakeholders and supporters at a special event in Abuja on March 31, 2016. Distinguished guests included the chairman of the Nigerian House of Representatives, director of the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria, high-level representatives from state governments and partner organizations, and more.

After a rousing rendition of “Arise, Oh Compatriots,” the Nigerian national anthem, Country Director, Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, welcomed participants and underscored the intention for the day’s two round-table panel discussions:

In Nigeria, 150 women and 2,300 children die every day from preventable causes. One in five children won’t live to see their fifth birthday. This event can help continue conversations on what we can do to end preventable deaths among women, children, and young people.

Currently, MSH’s partnerships for health system strengthening in Nigeria reach nearly 560,000 people through four projects.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman, Democratic Republic of the Congo}Photo credit: Warren Zelman, Democratic Republic of the Congo

This post originally appeared on the Frontline Health Workers Coalition blog.

I grew up in a village in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and although I’m now a doctor and live in Kinshasa, I remember those days well.

I know what it’s like to live 23 kilometers from the nearest health center and to navigate forests and floods to get there. I know how a lack of something simple like antibiotics can cause a quick death. I’ve lost many peers from the village over the years and a lot of family members.

In fact, that’s why I became a physician.

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera}Photo credit: Todd Shapera

In the Geita District in Tanzania’s Lake Zone, some 10 kilometers from the nearest health facility, a one-year-old girl child wakes up crying with a severe fever. “We used to walk more than 10 kilometers to present our sick children to Geita Regional Hospital,” says Joyce Bahati, the girl’s mother.

Access to proper diagnosis and medicine is critical when a child develops a severe fever. A long journey can delay treatment, or for some, discourage seeking care altogether. In rural sub-Saharan Africa, where the nearest fully-functional health facility may be, at best, a three-hour journey on foot, women and children often turn first to community-based caregivers and medicines sellers or small health dispensaries as first providers of primary health care, including severe fever.

 {Photo credit: MSH}A woman and her child consult with an ADDO dispenser in Tanzania.Photo credit: MSH

Cross-posted with permission from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Blog, Impatient Optimists.

Primary health care has many different definitions, but can be defined simply as the first place where people seek care. Within this definition, private sector providers constitute an important source of primary health care in many parts of the world.

Private providers of primary health

Private providers can run the spectrum–from private hospitals, pharmacies, and non-profit clinics, to informal providers such as faith-based healers and drug shops. A 2013 review suggests that informal providers account for as much as two-thirds of health care visits in Bangladesh and Thailand, and a substantial percentage of visits in Nigeria and Kenya as well.[1]

 {Photo credit: Morgan Wingard for USAID}Liberia.Photo credit: Morgan Wingard for USAID

The October/November issue of the Global Health Impact Newsletter (subscribe) focuses on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and MSH's response, including what is needed to save lives, contain Ebola (or any similar outbreak), and maintain essential health services: stronger health systems.

A Note from Dr. Jonathan Quick

[Dr. Jonathan D. Quick]Dr. Jonathan D. QuickThe Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented. Already, over 13,000 people have been affected and over 5,000 lives lost. What’s more, this outbreak was preventable.

 {Photo credit: Anthony Yeakpalah/MSH.}Meeting community volunteers to update them on malaria case management measures during the Ebola crisis.Photo credit: Anthony Yeakpalah/MSH.

The unprecedented outbreak and spread of the Ebola virus in three West African countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) continues to wreak havoc on the lives, economy, and already-strained health systems of the region. The outbreak is particularly high in Liberia with 2,413 people killed by the disease to date.

While the Government of Liberia and partners are mobilizizing all efforts to control Ebola, there is evidence that other diseases are being neglected as a result of health facilities closing down, fear of seeking treatment at health facilities, and the Ministry of Health’s policy to focus its resources and staff to manage Ebola, maternal and child health, and emergency services.

In its early stages, malaria symptoms closely resemble those of Ebola infection: fever. The unrelenting influx of suspected Ebola cases to health centers raises serious issues of capacity, safety, and ability to identify Ebola cases in time for isolation and management.

 {Photo credit: John Marmion.}A malaria diagnosis and treatment kit is delivered to a gold mining camp in Suriname.Photo credit: John Marmion.

This post originally appeared on the SIAPS blog.

Many countries in Central and South America have made significant progress toward eliminating malaria. Between 2000 and 2012, 13 countries in the Americas saw malaria incidence rates drop by more than 75 percent. Argentina, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, and Paraguay have all reached the pre-elimination phase, a designation given by the World Health Organization (WHO) when countries meet certain critical steps in eliminating the disease and preventing its reintroduction.

While this progress is encouraging, efforts to eliminate and control other global threats like polio illustrate that the last cases are often the most difficult to address. In the case of malaria, fewer cases bring new challenges in ensuring the supply and proper management of antimalarial medicines.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

April 2014 is an important month for malaria control. On April 25, the global community commemorates World Malaria Day 2014, with a theme of: "Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria". Earlier this month, April 7, the theme of World Health Day highlighted the "small bite, big threat" of vector-borne diseases.

To commemorate these days and advance effective malaria programming worldwide, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) will host a 3-day virtual seminar, April 22-24 focusing on State of the Art Malaria Programming that leads to malaria elimination in this generation. The sub-themes of the seminar are:

  • April 22: State of Art for Malaria Elimination
  • April 23: Malaria Pharmaceutical Management
  • April 24: Vector Control, Prevention, and Parasitology

Participants must register on LeaderNet to participate.

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