Before coming to Zambia I had read about malaria. I knew it was a horrible disease. During Pre-service training I could give you the statistics on malaria in Zambia. I could tell you that more people in Africa are affected by malaria than HIV. But it wasn’t until I had been posted in my village that I really saw and understood the effects of malaria. It was seeing my four year old neighbor shaking and vomiting from the effects of malaria, it was seeing the lines of villagers at the clinic, it was seeing a mother’s distress at the funeral of her 8 month old baby girl who died of malaria. These and many other instances that show the true face of malaria in Zambia and the need to take action against it. One of the ways that I can do this is through the PMI Malaria Net Longevity Study.
This study examines mosquito nets that were distributed throughout Luapula and Northern Provinces in Zambia to examine the wear and tear they undergo. It also collects important information regarding behavior surrounding net use. This study will help the Zambian Ministry of Health determine how often nets should be replaced and also collects valuable information that can be used to develop behavior change and prevention programs surrounding malaria.
As a recently posted volunteer the study, which requires that I visit 28 homes throughout my catchment area, has helped me get to know my community better – from discovering homes that are off the main paths to learning more about the social economic conditions within
This study is one way that Peace Corps volunteers throughout Zambia are positively impacting the burden of malaria in Zambia.
Erin Eisenhardt, Community Health and Improvement Program, 2011-2013