Bonjour dear Kedougou comrades,
Bienvenue to your second monthly malaria update! Ben and Ian spent a good chunk of March testing out mosquito net visual aids for the net distribution organization Networks. Overall they were very useful and extremely well received by our communities, though there was definitely room for tweaking. Networks is now taking our feedback and printing new cards so let us know if you want these in the future.
In conjunction with these cards we’ve been doing dry season net use counts. As expected, net use is pretty low right now with percentages of beds covered as low as 34%. Too, many nets are dirty, ripped or full of little holes Networks and the Senegalese government are working together to roll out a routine distribution. This means that by the end of April, if pregnant women go to antenatal care visits they will receive a voucher for a free mosquito net (1 per pregnancy), and everyone else can purchase nets at the health post for the cost of a consultation (100-200CFA) and 500CFA. However, because there are no more UNIVERSAL coverage campaigns scheduled for the near future, caring for and repairing these old nets is extremely important.
….which leads us to our next point: April 25th is WORLD MALARIA DAY!! We’ve decided to focus on washing and repairing nets as our big activity on the day. Some volunteers are planning big events in health posts to make a big net washing/sewing party. Other ideas are to use Care Groups or other groups of women as roving bands of net repairers and washers. We’ll also be doing radio spots and other media, getting out the good word about malaria.
Ben also has an awesome plan to visually represent his village’s expenditures on malaria treatment. Overall Fongo spent at least 3,039,100 CFA last year on malaria consultations and medication. This is the equivalent of 196 sacks of rice or like a billion glasses of tea. On World Malaria Day he is going to line the path from the center of the village to the health post with 196 rice sacks, a visceral reminder of how much money and resources could be saved if we stopped malaria. Inshallah, Ashley, CJ, and Big Jess will be helping out! Got other ideas? Let us know!
Since April 25th is world malaria day, Peace Corps’ Stomping Out Malaria in Africa initiative is promoting April as Blog About Malaria Month (BAMM)—BAMM is also the unofficial onomatopoeia for us kicking malaria in the proverbial face. We are all a part of this initiative; we all need to stomp on malaria’s face. And this month you can help fight malaria by blogging about malaria. Blog about a malaria-related project you’ve done, a malaria project you hope to do, or how malaria has impacted your service or your family. If you blog this month (through the end of Apirl), please send the URL to Ian or Ben and it will go onto the Stomping Out Malaria in Africa website (http://stompoutmalaria.org/). You will be famous.
Finally, Frank is in the planning stages of a Neem Lotion testing. Somewhere in August or September he’ll be setting up live experiments to test the effectiveness and duration of the cream. Be ready!
Malaria Activity of the Month
Teach your family how to sew holes and tears in a mosquito net, tie knots where holes are (if no needle and thread), and wash their nets.
Thread and a needle can be purchased in Kedougou, and often at boutiques. They are cheap. Wash nets in not-hot water with peanut soap or soap ordinaire (as long as it doesn’t have madar or bleach in it…these will strip the net of the insecticide impregnated in the net) and clean gently. Do not rub too hard or you may rip the net. Questions? Call Ian or Ben.
Interesting articles from the malaria world
1) Acupuncture enhanced efficacy of malaria treatments helping children recover more quickly http://www.healthcmi.com/index.php/acupuncturist-news-online/515-acupuncturemalariadazhui
2) Lives saved from malaria prevention in Africa–evidence to sustain cost-effective gains http://www.malariajournal.com/content/11/1/94/abstract
3) Malaria in Pregnancy
a. Malaria hiding in pregnancy. Infected women can test negative http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/03/20/cid.cis236.abstract
b. In Ghanaian women with placental #malaria perinatal mortality was higher, duration of pregnancy shorter and birth weight lower
c. Malaria in pregnancy stunts fetal growth even when the mothers do not have any malarial symptoms
d. It seems IRONic that iron deficiency could protect against malaria which can cause anemia
4) Evidence for both innate and acquired mechanisms of protection fromPlasmodium falciparum in children with sickle cell trait
For more information, subscribe to the Malaria Journal at the following URL. http://www.malariajournal.com/
Ian and Ben