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 {Photo credit: Modeste B. Gnitona}The women’s group Iréti’mbè and Ifèomontayo in Adja-Ouèrè has increased its income and launched a savings fund to cover the cost of health services for its members.Photo credit: Modeste B. Gnitona

Pour lire cette histoire en français, cliquez ici.Even when healthcare is available, it is not always accessible. In Benin, poverty prevents many women and their children from paying for essential health services.

 {Photo: Raphaël Gnonlonfoun, USAID Integrated Health Services Activity}A coach from Sakété-Ifangni health zone, Plateau, counting the number of active malaria cases in health registers.Photo: Raphaël Gnonlonfoun, USAID Integrated Health Services Activity

When Benin recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 16, 2020, the country’s health authorities understandably pivoted to pandemic preparedness and response activities to protect people from the coronavirus.But the pandemic threatened progress in the fight against malaria. According to the 2018 Benin Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA 2018), the mosquito-borne illness remains the leading cause of mortality among children under five years and of morbidity among adults in Benin, accounting for more than 39 percent of adult medical consultations. Disruptions to primary healthcare and malaria prevention and treatment efforts could have deadly consequences.

A health worker showing the app used during the SMC in the village of Guéné. Photo credit Jocelyn Akakpo

While the rainy season brings welcome relief to farmers in northern Benin, the wet weather also brings an unwelcome guest: mosquitoes. These mosquitoes can spread malaria, a disease that threatens hundreds of thousands of children’s lives across the region.But malaria can be prevented with several interventions, including medications provided during seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC). When the summer rain arrives, health workers supported by USAID through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) treat children with four monthly rounds of SMC.

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