Boot Camp V, Day 8: HIV/AIDs & Malaria Co-Infection, Appropriate Technologies, and Communications

Boot camp V participants remain diligent in their eighth day of malaria boot camp. Today’s program consisted of a presentation on HIV and malaria co-infection, a review of the new Peace Corps training program called Focus In, Train Up, a session on grant writing and reviewing, and an afternoon of communications led by the Communications Officier at Speak Up Africa.

The morning started off with a presentation about HIV/AIDS and malaria co-infection assembled by Peter D. McElroy, PhD and Lynn Paxton, MD. Dr. McElroy is the PMI Regional Coordinator for East Africa and Dr. Paxton is the PMI Resident Advisor for Tanzania. The presentation covered how HIV infected adults are more at risk for contracting severe malaria due to immunosuppression. Participants also learned about the HIV effects on malaria in pregnancy and the type of preventative measures pregnant women living with HIV should be aware of. The presentation also addressed action items that Peace Corps Volunteers, local health workers, and national governments should pursue.

Following the HIV and malaria session, Matt McLaughlin, Stomp Program Manager, introduced the new Peace Corps training model called Focus In, Train Up and talked about grant writing and reviewing. Participants dissected a sample grant and discussed ways to guide Volunteers on writing their own grants. Participants also had an opportunity to share with each other useful electronic tools and websites that would be helpful upon returning to their posts.

The afternoon was devoted to communications and malaria. Isaac Holeman with Medic Mobile spoke to the group about using low-cost, appropriate technologies to provide more effective health services. Medic Mobile works with partner organizations that provide high-impact health services in challenging settings. Isaac addressed challenges of using mobile phone technologies in low-literate populations and areas with limited connectivity.

Boot Camp V participants Babara Smith and Matt Boddie practice their malaria salespitch in a communications session facilitated by Fara Ndiaye from Speak Up Africa.

Fara Ndiaye is the Communications Officier for Speak Up Africa, a mass-media project of Malaria No More. She presented her organization’s strategies for getting the malaria message out and discussed ways to be an effective malaria salesperson in order to reach out the potential partners. Participants broke into groups and devised a malaria salespitch that would be hypothetically delivered to either a small or large potential partner in a targeted country. Participants delivered their salespitches to the group and discussed ways to effectively deliver and cater their message to specific businesses.

Fara introduced Malaria No More’s Night Watch Program, a mass communications campaign using 30-second radio spots to remind families to sleep under a bed net every night. The program also comes with a six-day education curriculum that many Volunteers have found helpful when working with school groups.  With presentation points in mind, participants brainstormed various platforms that could be use to promote the malaria message.

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