By: Megan Kirby
In the Northern Region village of Bagurugu, we commemorated World Malaria Day by holding a Peer Educators workshop for new village health volunteers. There were fifteen interested community members in attendance, including three female traditional birth attendants. Bagurugu’s two nurses, Rukia and Sala, translated and contributed informational sessions about the transmission, symptoms and treatment of Malaria. We also talked about particularly at-risk communities and their proper treatment. Rukia also discussed the available preventative and curative medications and informed the traditional birth attendants about SP, the anti-Malarial medication for pregnant women.
Afterwards, in question and answer sessions, the new community health volunteers discussed common assumptions and myths regarding Malaria transmission—and in turn were provided factual information to share with their fellow community members. In Bagurugu, exposure to midday sun, eating green mangoes and keeping too long at the farm are all commonly cited as the causes of Malaria.
We then shifted the discussion to Malaria prevention. The participants said they commonly slept outdoors without a bednet during the hot and dry seasons. We demonstrated two different ways to creatively hang a bednet outdoors and discussed the importance of sleeping under a treated net at all times of the year.
At the end of our session, the new health volunteers were charged with the responsibility of sharing the information and suggestions they’d just learned—and, in effect, working towards eliminating Malaria from sub-Saharan Africa.