Weekly Awesome Tanzania: World Malaria Day in the Southern Highlands

World Malaria Day on April 25th, 2012 was celebrated by Peace Corps Volunteers and Tanzanians across the country.  While many PCVs organized noteworthy events to commemorate the day, this Weekly Awesome is devoted to the work of three extraordinary volunteers from the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.  These volunteers represent all sectors of Peace Corps in Tanzania (health, environment and education) and work in various settings.  They adopted their interventions based on their knowledge and skills to best address the needs of their community.

Image: Malaria Prevalence in Children 6-59 months, 2007/8 Source: Tanzania HIV & Malaria Indicator Survey Preliminary Report. NBS & ORC Marco, August 2008

[heading style=”1″]PCV David Schlessinger uses neem lotion to teach his community about malaria[/heading]

David Schlessinger is an Environment Volunteer based in a small village located in the Njombe region. His primary activities are  teaching and demonstrating sustainable agriculture practices in his community and teaching environmental education to standard 6 students at the local primary schooll.  During Pre-Service Training, he learned to make neem lotion, a natural insecticide which he’s had several opportunities to make with his community.  About neem lotion, Dave blogs “it remains one of the most impressive things I’ve done here so far in terms of what people living here think of it.”

[quote style=”1″]it [neem lotion] remains one of the most impressive things I’ve done here so far…”
– PCV David Schlessinger[/quote]

Dave’s first chance to share his neem lotion skills was on World Malaria Day 2012.  He talked to the two doctors at nearby Matamba Hospital about the idea of showing a movie and making neem lotion for World Malaria Day.  Then he informed the head teacher at the local primary school, the Bwana Mazingira (Village Environment Officer) and a local government official all of whom approved of the idea to celebrate World Malaria Day with an educational event and movie screening at the primary school.  To raise awareness in the community about the event, one of the doctors assisted him in making a “tangazo” (announcement) which they copied and posted around the village.  David recounts the day:

“On World Malaria Day, we showed the video Chumo [an educational film about malaria in pregnancy produced by John Hopkins University Center for Communications Program, USAID, and Media for Development International Tanzania] to about forty five villagers, about 40 children and five adults. We then asked questions about malaria and the answers were all pretty good. We then made the neem lotion, which turned out really well after it was cooled overnight.”

Dave realizes that malaria isn’t a big problem in his village; however, “when villagers travel down the mountain it can be a big problem, to the closest city Mbeya, or in Dar Es Salaam and much of Tanzania. [Teaching the village about neem lotion] is mainly an idea for villagers when they travel and possibly for income generation as there are very few mosquitoes in the village of Matamba as we are at over 7000 feet.”

Overall, the event was a success. David believes that his community was receptive to the message that malaria is still a deadly disease that exists around our country and with the proper prevention efforts you can protect yourself and your family from contracting malaria. On June 5th, David hosted another malaria education event to celebrate World Environment Day.

Follow David at his blog: http://tanzaniadave.blogspot.com

 [heading style=”1″]PCV Folake Oyegbola works with student “Ambassadors of Health”[/heading]

PCV Folake Oyegbola teaches the basics of malaria at a training of the trainers in preparation for World Malaria Day.

 Folake Oyegbola is an Education Volunteer serving as chemistry teacher in an all girls’ boarding secondary school in the Mbeya region.  Last year, the community was devastated when a bright Form 2 (the equivalent of 9th grade) student of Fo’s died of malaria.  Teachers collected money to give the girl’s family.  The Head of School realized that many of the students weren’t using mosquito nets and didn’t really know what malaria was or how to prevent it.

When Fo realized “students either didn’t care or didn’t know enough” she wrote a grant to fund a training of students and a World Malaria Day event.  She and her counterpart, Biology teacher Jane Mulundu, selected and trained a team of 17 “Ambassadors of Health” on the dangers of malaria and how to prevent and treat the disease.   At the training, Ambassadors of Health also created posters to encourage the use of long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) and learned the lyrics to Zinduka*, watched a film about malaria in pregnancy (Chumo), and had a LLIN hanging competition.

Kayuki Secondary School Biology teacher, Jane Mulundu with students on Health Ambassador Selection Day April 20, 2012.

 On World Malaria Day, the Ambassadors of Health taught their fellow students about malaria transmission, diagnosis and prevention.  Then they demonstrated the proper way to hang a bed-net, watched and led a discussion about Chumo, and sang for 560 fellow students and the school staff and their families.  Today, if you visit Kayuki Secondary you’ll see posters advocating proper malaria prevention behavior on each dorm, the girls will serenade you with Zinduka and you will witness in conversations that they are proud of knowing how to protect themselves from this deadly disease.
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[heading style=”1″]PCV Valencia Lyle brings students and health workers together[/heading]

Valencia Lyle is a Health Volunteer in a village of Ludewa district, Njombe.  She assists teachers at the local primary school where she will begin teaching English this September.   On the weekends she works at the HIV/AIDS clinic in a neighboring village to dispense medication and monitor health of people living with HIV and AIDS.  She is currently working with village officials to open a dispensary in her village.

Before applying for a World Malaria Day grant, Valencia spoke to the staff of the clinic where she volunteers.  She noticed “they were eager to involve the community in an event that promoted good health.  After I witnessed the motivation within the medical staff, I was enthusiastic about applying for the WMD grant.”

On April 28, 2012, Valencia organized a World Malaria Day event for the community involving the primary students from her school and local health clinic staff.  The objective the the event was to teach the community about malaria and provide them with knowledge and tools to prevent malaria in their communities.  15 students from standards 5 and 6 performed songs and dances relating to malaria. They also put on a small theater sketch addressing the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net and going to the health clinic for diagnosis and treatment of malaria.  In addition to cooking, decorating and advertising for the event, nurses from the clinic shared invaluable information with the about malaria in their community.

Valencia and teachers at the primary school chose students to share the malaria messages because “behavior change is easier and more effective in students and the students in my village are eager to learn new things.”  They chose students who were motivated and hardworking because “they are the role models in their classrooms and they were more willing to teach their peers and families about the facts that my counterpart and I taught them concerning Malaria.”  They taught the students about malaria and “ensured that the students practiced and perfected their performance.”

Children from the age of 7 to adults in their 70s enjoyed songs and dances relating to malaria and a short theater sketch addressing the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net and going to the health clinic for diagnosis and treatment of malaria.

[note color=”#FFCC00″]Lyrics: Malaria yamezidi ni lazima tukomeshe – malaria is too much so it must be stopped
Spoken: Kung’atwa na mbu ni lazima tukomeshe – To be bitten by mosquitoes it must be stopped.[/note]

[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/KTtz6BIyGok”%5D

Zinduka Tanzania Music Video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTtz6BIyGok

 World Malaria Day Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_AFAuqh_qM

*The work of 18 of Tanzania’s most popular music performers, Zinduka song and music video were produced as part of the Zinduka! Malaria Haikubaliki (“Wake up, Malaria is Unacceptable!”) campaign launched in 2009 by President Jakaya Kikwete with support from partners including Johns Hopkins University, Population Services International, United Against Malaria and ExxonMobil.

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One thought on “Weekly Awesome Tanzania: World Malaria Day in the Southern Highlands

  1. Pingback: Weekly Awesome Tanzania: Fo featured in Africa | The You Are Love Project

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