Day three of malaria boot camp V was filled with a field visit to the village of Thieneba Seck in the morning and Skype presentations in the afternoon from two well-known malaria academics.
Boot camp V participants visited the village of Thieneba Seck this morning to talk to community hero El Hadji Momar Diop about his innovative community-led malaria prevention and awareness program. In 1999, El Hadji was working away from his village when he received a phone call stating that his 12-year-old daughter, Amy, had fallen ill. She died before El Hadji could make it home. Amy had contracted malaria.
El Hadji wanted to fight back at the disease that took his daughter’s life. He began to talk to other members in the community and learned that five other village children and many pregnant women had also fatally fallen victim to malaria that year. El Hadji called community leaders together to ask questions about what this misunderstood disease was, what caused it, and how the community could stop it. After talking with local health workers, El Hadji and the men and women of Thieneba Seck implemented an aggressive campaign to fight back against malaria. The villagers sought to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites, put together a program to ensure that everyone was using their mosquito nets properly, and started an intense education campaign for school children. After years of work, Thieneba Seck and the surrounding area are now malaria-free. Today, the boot camp participants had the opportunity to learn about El Hadji’s malaria story and ask questions about how he mobilized his community and the community’s strategies for remaining malaria-free.
After lunch, Dr. David Sullivan, MD, Associate Professor Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, presented via Skype about malaria diagnosis and treatment and drug resistance. Dr. Sullivan discussed the multiple methods to diagnose malaria and various drug regimens. Participants learned about how different drugs work at different stages of the parasitic life cycle. Dr. Sullivan clarified any misconceptions about drug resistance and why some drugs become ineffective.
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Following Dr. Sullivan, Stanford Professor Dr. Pascaline Dupas joined the group via Skype to discuss her research regarding the benefits and costs of distributing free bed nets versus subsidized bed nets in Kenya. Participants explored the relationship between cost and demand for subsidized health goods. She touched on the importance of using operational research to contribute to effective public policy and health practices. She also shared some insight about doing field research and challenges she had to overcome.
PCVL Mike Toso and Stomp Program Manager Matt McLaughlin finished off the day’s sessions with a crash course in electronic tools. Malaria Team Members are now equipped with the knowledge to effectively share their materials and stories with each other and the public. Tomorrow is another full day of presentations and hands-on activities.