Burkina Faso has just received 26 new Health and Daba (environment) trainees (PCTs) and the Stomp Out Malaria Team had the privilege of presenting two fantastic workshops during their training.
The Stomp Team presented two sessions during the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 2: An Introduction to Malaria Prevention and Malaria Interventions, both of which are part of the Focus In Train Up curriculum developed for use Peace Corps-wide. Of course, Burkina Faso put our own country-specific twist on the program, using the latest national statistics available and focusing on Burkina’s national malaria control policy and interventions strategies.
The first session aimed to educate PCTs on the fundamental aspects of malaria, including the an overview of malaria’s past, the malaria vector, and the transmission cycle and an introduction to the malaria parasite P. falciparum. The presentation also introduced key partners in malaria prevention such as President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), national partners such as Plan Burkina and the PNLP (Program National de Lutte Contre le Paludisme), and, of course, Stomp Out Malaria. Participants also completed a handout with their host family communities aimed at engaging them in a dialogue about how Burkinabe perceive malaria and various interventions. The PCTs really opened up during a talk back about this activity and shared some of the challenges they experienced when talking about malaria with their families.
The second session focused more on Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) role in malaria prevention. PCTs participated in interactive lessons about how to make neem cream, how to repair bed nets, and how to give talks to community groups about key malaria intervention strategies such as early treatment and using a bed net regularly. The group practiced giving “elevator pitches”, brief 3 minute speeches, in response to possible scenarios they might encounter at their posts involving community members who seem to be misinformed about malaria. This activity helped to reinforce aspects of communication that are crucial when talking about behavior change, as well as help PCTs gain more confidence in bringing up sensitive issues like malaria with people they will be serving.
Training is a valuable way to engage future PCVs in helping us fight malaria. By encouraging these trainees to make malaria a fundamental part of their work from the beginning of their time in country, we are educating new leaders who can pass the torch to the next generations. The Stomp Team had a great time getting to know this new group and we’re looking forward to Stomping with them throughout their service!