Angelina comes running up after school yelling ‘Sister Johanna, Sister Johanna!’. I smile and can’t help laugh as she looks up at me in her faded school dress. She smiles the biggest smile you’ve ever seen and grabs a stack of nets to carry on her head to help. We’re in the middle of a net distribution as part of Ghana Health Service’s ‘Roll Out Campaign’.
As we distribute and hang net in every household, one per married couple and one for every two children, Angelina runs back and forth from where we store the nets, making the process go a little quicker. She’s one of my most favorite people in my village but her name can be deceiving. Asking for a coin to buy a water sachet because she’s thirsty, she comes back smacking on a piece of bubble gum. My counterpart George Atoanan and I try to scold her but end up laughing instead! Even though she’s devious, she our little helper for the day and puts a smile on our face.
I’ve visited with her family since the campaign and see that the treated mosquito nets are still hung and I can rest assured she’s sleeping safe every night. Because she’s healthy and malaria-free, she can continue to smile her mischievous smile every day.
Weekly Awesome Mozambique: Training of Trainers in Zambezia Province
On Thursday July 5th, in Mocuba, Zambezia province, eight Peace Corps Health Volunteers, ten Mozambican counterparts, one representative from PIRCOM (Programa Inter-Religioso Contra a Malária), and one Peace Corps Staff member participated in a general malaria prevention “Training of Trainers.” The purpose of this workshop was two-fold: to propagate malaria prevention messages to the communities where participants live and to prepare PCVs and Mozambican counterparts to assist in the upcoming net distribution and spraying campaigns in the districts where they live and work.
"It’s possible to end this – in our lifetime. What we need are not slogans about African Illnesses, emotional appeals to Save Those In Need, or personal campaigns to Guilt Everyone Into Donating Money. My neighbors here in Senegal are working diligently to protect themselves from infection."
Malaria is an incredibly deadly, pervasive disease. It kills between 750,000 to 1.2 million people every year, mostly children and pregnant women.
When you really see it at the local level, though, its real impact becomes clear. In my host family alone every single child had malaria last year at least once, some three or four times. It exacts an extraordinarily heavy toll on the health, productivity, and finances of the village, and nearly every family has lost children to the disease.
Prevention work can have incredibly positive effect on the well being of these families. Simple interventions like bed nets, indoor residual spraying and prompt treatment can save huge amounts of money, time and ultimately lives.
Working in Malaria prevention is important primarily, because the disease is comparatively simple to prevent and yet remains a leading cause of death throughout Africa and many other parts of the developing world. Through the proper use of bed nets, covering up exposed skin during evening hours, and removing/covering sources of standing water around your home diminish the mosquito population and therefore your chances of catching malaria.
From personal experience and living in Mozambique for the past 2 years, I can easily say that Malaria is one of the most diagnosed and treated cases at our local Hospital, and that all of my neighbors have been diagnosed or treated for malaria at some point in my service. I also say this while we are in the middle of our rainy season here in Mozambique, and already Malaria cases are beginning to skyrocket as the mosquito population begins to boom.
The National Malaria Control Centre organized mobile clinics around townships to screen, test, and treat people.
The Peace Corps Stomp Out Malaria Coordinator Jane Coleman and a Linking Income and Food Environment Volunteer Laura Walls walked around with community health workers and their loud speakers, letting people know to come to the mobile clinic to get tested!
Jane and Laura spent the rest of the morning with the patients and staff screening, testing and treating mothers, children under five and even some of their fathers.
People were lined up around the clinic and many people went home with Coartem and will be happy and healthy for the month of May!