The Hunger Project-Senegal is proud to report the successful conclusion of another year’s participation in the IntraHealth malaria program. In the last year, trained extension workers with partner community-based organizations (CBOs) reached 17,000 individuals through 870 discussions on malaria. Additional program successes included several hundred discussions at community events to raise awareness of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS; and awareness-building conversations with more than 32,000 individuals through almost 4,900 home visits. In total, from January through September 2016, extension workers within the IntraHealth program have hosted over 2,300 discussions and conducted over 13,000 home visits on malaria control and infection prevention.
The IntraHealth malaria program began in 2013, when IntraHealth selected The Hunger Project-Senegal as one of twelve recipients of a grant from the Global Fund to implement a campaign against malaria at the community level. The Hunger Project-Senegal then contracted with CBOs in the regions of Senegal’s capital Dakar and Tambacounda, near the western border with Mali. Each CBO-sponsored extension worker attended a training workshop conducted by local etablissement publique de santé, or public health establishments, in conjunction with The Hunger Project and IntraHealth. Extension workers participated in brainstorming, role-play and active discussions to learn how to inform and encourage communities to adopt best practices for malaria control and prevention. Extension workers were also trained to communicate best practices for preventing the spread of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
Malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, while devastating, are also preventable. For example, sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets is a simple but effective way of preventing and controlling malaria. In addition to the IntraHealth program, The Hunger Project often works with other like-minded organizations to distribute mosquito nets and provide free screenings for HIV/AIDs, and partners with community-led groups to raise awareness. When given access to tools such as mosquito nets and blood tests, and empowered with accurate information, individuals can protect themselves and their families. In fact, at the Ndereppe Epicenter in Senegal, the proportion of children who slept under bednets increased from 4.60% in 2005 to 67.87% in 2016, and the proportion of the population aware of their HIV status increased from 1.10% to 53.59% – an incredible, and life-saving, achievement.
During the latest round of home visits, IntraHealth malaria extension workers found that 88% of households were using mosquito nets treated with insecticide, and 92% of beds overall were covered. This marked continued improvement towards the goal of universal usage of insecticide-treated mosquito nets. Extension workers also identified 142 cases of chronic coughing during home visits for tuberculosis, referring 140 of those individuals to health facilities for additional screening and testing.
Over the course of the IntraHealth malaria program, extension workers continue to receive training and support such as factsheets and flyers with answers to frequently asked questions. In addition, district managers, representatives from each CBO and The Hunger Project-Senegal program coordinator meet regularly to discuss challenges and plan future activities.
Photo credit: Johannes Ode.