From August 27-29, eight Peace Corps Volunteers and ten community health worker (CHWs) counterparts met in Manakara, Madagascar for a regional malaria training. The southeastern region of Madagascar has some of the highest prevalence rates of malaria in the country and volunteers from all sectors recognize the importance of malaria prevention activities.
For this training, volunteers from the Health, Environment and Community Economic Development sectors partnered with one or two of their communities’ CHWs to increase their knowledge, collaborate and plan new activities that effectively address malaria prevention in their communities. Health volunteers traditionally work with CHWs at their local health clinic, but Volunteers from other sectors identified a CHW counterpart by asking for community recommendations; resulting in a group of incredibly motivated participants. Further, Volunteers from sectors other than health, made plans to incorporate malaria prevention activities into their ongoing community projects, for example participants, Paul Johnson and Ronjemianisoa Nely began discussing how they could incorporate mosquito net repairs into the seamstress training Paul was already organizing for a group of women in their community.
Ghislan Ravelonjatovo, APCD of Health; Lova Rakotoarisoa, PA of Health; the PC Malaria Coordinator, Nicki Keusch, and two trainers from Population Services International (PSI) conducted the three day training. It began with an introduction to working with PCVs and sessions on project design and management, since this was the first time many of Volunteers had worked with these counterparts.
Continuing, PSI trained participants on malaria case management at the community level and supply chain management. We ended with a day focused completely on project ideas, distribution campaign logistics and planning community malaria prevention activities for the next six months. The three days were packed with educational sessions, fun activities and a focus on collaboration between PCVs and CHWs in the community and within the region. Volunteers and their counterparts left the training with the necessary tools and knowledge to support their fight against malaria in their communities.