1) Distributions where PC was the driving force behind the distribution taking place:
PCTG has not been the driving force behind a bed net distribution since the 2010 distribution in Upper River Region. The distributions went well to the best of my knowledge, but there were leftover bed nets and reports were not filed, and everyone that worked out the project COSed without finishing it. I think that PCVs also stole some of the nets. The project ended on a bad note because no one thought about what would happen after they COSed. I think that everyone learned a lot about distributions after that one.
The govt handed out roughly 750,000 bed nets last year. PCVs are better used with surveys and making sure that the distributions run smoothly.
2) Distributions that PC helped with:
PCVs around the Gambia usually help their Community Health Nurses (CHNs) and other health extension staff with bed net distributions. This also includes the any work prior to the distribution itself.
1) Health IST
At the IST, there was a one-hour general introduction to the Stomp initiative and how PCVs can get involved. I made a PowerPoint introducing the initiative. (Katim and I were at Boot Camp during the Environment IST so we missed our chance.)
2) Education PST
Introduction to the Stomp initiative and the importance of all PCVs, regardless of their sector, getting involved in malaria prevention and control.
3) Health and Environment PST (in collaboration with PC Senegal)
Introduction to the Stomp initiative, etc. I was not there for the presentation and I have not really spoken to Alex, but Senegal should have a good description of how things went.
PCV Participation in malaria at Post
PCTG currently has about 79 PCVs, and at this time I’d say roughly half are actively involved in malaria work. Examples of work include: neem cream demonstrations, malaria murals, working with community health nurses and other health extension staff, one PCV works on the radio, and many PCVs do community sensitization.
There has been a big push lately for PCVs to do malaria, along with food security. The health sector project framework pretty much consists of malaria and reproductive health, so malaria will now take center stage.
In general, collecting best practices, especially photos, has not been one of PCTG’s strong suits. I’ll email you some great photos that we have. (I am also going to get them up onto the website in the next couple of days.)
Growth of Post “malaria armies”
In the past few months the malaria team has added Alex. She will potentially represent her region, URR, and also serve as the coordinator of the team. She will still live in her village and continue to do her primary projects.
The team is also expected to grow in the next month or so. Alex is doing a great job of talking with people and ‘recruiting’ them to join the team. In the next few months I would guess that every region will have a representative.
Bright Spot Anecdotal Stories
We have a lot of PCVs that work really hard in The Gambia, but when I think of a really really hard worker, Stephanie Starch comes to mind. She extremely involved with her community and has done a lot of work. She lives in Jamally Ganyado, which is a Fula village in Central River Region with about 20 compounds. She also works with the other communities in her Jamally district. She has made neem cream. She taught a lesson about money management and included a section explaining neem cream as an income generation. With the help of a nearby PCV, Steph painted a mural of how to make neem cream. She came to me to talk about a project that she had in mind and it turned out that she basically wanted to start a Care Group. In two weeks she got her Care Group up and running. She also is doing an awesome job of collecting best practices and then sharing that information with other PCVs. (I’ll attach some photos of Steph’s work.)
Shawn Reed is also doing an awesome job in her community. She lives in Batti Njole, CRR, in a small Wolof community. She has a great women’s group, and she works with the women on a lot of health issues, including malaria. Steph and Shawn together painted a health mural in Shawn’s village.
PCTG has only worked with NMCP. We do not have any of the ‘big guns,’ but there are some other groups around that we need to visit.
Working with NMCP has been very interesting. They are the experts, and honestly sometimes it is a bit of a challenge to work with them. New ideas or projects have to be presented in a way that someone will not feel as if their toes were stepped on. That is the impression that I get. It’s all a hierarchy, PCTG has to be really careful about how they talk about new ideas. Katim and I gave them an overview of Boot Camp I, as per their request, and we literally showed them and told them what we learned. One of the higher-ups got made about the coupons. He said that The Gambia uses them. Long story short, he talked a lot, and we smiled as I thought about the fact that I have never really seen the coupons, and even if they do exist, some people have all of the bed nets and some people have none. It’s safe to say that everyone has learned a lot working with NMCP.
I drafted a project plan and framework for PCTG’s initiative. The ‘task force’ and staff are meeting in the coming week to discuss and begin to finalize plans. Alex is first coming up with a better name for the group, and networking with PCVs to create a malaria team. Gabriel is going to continue working with NMCP.
Our goal is push the neem cream stencils and have PCVs do neem cream demos with the painting of the murals. We are also beginning to collect best practices. I also think that featuring PCVs on the Gambia page of the site will get people excited. I have already told people that if they do something that I will put it online. Who doesn’t get excited about that???
There are also talks in the future to develop a baseline survey, and implement the survey first in one region.