On Monday, April 26th the Trans Kunene Malaria Initiative (TKMI) and the Anglican AIDS Programme (AAP) hosted an event in Ohongo, Namibia to commemorate World Malaria Day. The Minister of Health and Social Services of Omusati provided remarks, emphasizing Namibia’s remarkable progress towards malaria eliminaiton over the past decade. 120 community members and malaria volunteers were in attendance.
“We’ve done well so far in our effort to control the burden of malaria, preventing hundreds of thousands of cases and saving thousands of lives over the past years,” said the Minister.
The Minister also provided an overview of the current malaria situation in the area, sharing that the supervision of anti-malarial spray teams would yield even better outcomes for the surrounding communities. The Minister shared encouraging results from the 2016 Malaria Indicator Report, showing a number of achievements -- including the timely reporting of all malaria statistics, zero malaria mortality, a decrease in malaria morbidity, and the correct management of all malaria cases.
In addition to the remarks and speeches given, a drama group performed skits on the importance of malaria education, showing the audience examples of how malaria volunteers work within the community.
In Ohongo, community malaria volunteers are responsible for providing malaria education and sensitization, distributing bed nets, collecting household level data, and providing rapid diagnostic tests for malaria. These collective efforts contributed to a decrease in malaria incidence in Ohongo.
In recognition of Ohongo’s efforts, Jackie Park, Director of the Anglican AIDS Programme, presented Ohongo’s Headman with the Isdell: Flowers Community Malaria Award. Ohongo was announced as Nambia’s Community Award Winner at the 2016 Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative Annual Roundtable, held in February of this year. Of all communities involved with TKMI in Namibia, Ohongo experienced the greatest percentage drop in malaria cases and the highest percentage of long lasting insecticide net usage. Additionally, Ohongo was the community with the highest rentention of community volunteers, and displayed the best environmental management.
The day’s events ended with a closing prayer and a celebratory lunch.
From April 29th through the 30th, the Trans Cunene Malaria Initiative (TKMI) Angola travelled to the community of Cuvelei in Cunene, Angola, to conduct rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Testing was carried out as part of this year’s World Malaria Day activities, in collaboration with the Anglican Church and the Ministry of Health Malaria team.
In order to reach Cuvelei, a community that is facing increased malaria incidence, the team of 30 technical staff, nurses, and community mobilizers drove six hours on rough terrain and through rivers. In Cuvelei municipality, one in every two people suffers from malaria and are in need of treatment.
Over the two days, 494 RDTs were conducted, with 223 community members testing positive for malaria. The Nurse had no rest, as the health post was open day and night. Most of the malaria cases were in children under-five who also were suffering from malnutrition.
Hundreds of community members, many of which were unaware they had malaria, traveled to the health post when they heard that TKMI and the Ministry of Health would be providing testing and treatment. Some community members traveled more than 5 KM to get to the health centre.
The RDTs – a 20-minute test – can save lives. Over the two days, family after family tested positive for the malaria parasite. The team treated all who had malaria.
Look below for a collection of photos from the two-day event.
Every member of this family tested positive for malaria and received treatment. RDT testing is an opportunity to integrate other prevention activities and services including bed net distribution and behavior change communication. Scaling up the use of RDTs will have a major impact on communities like Cuvelei where many are still in need of malaria testing and treatment.
By Gertrude Wafula and Emilia Wime
In the municipality of Ombaja, traveling is often a challenge, not only for the volunteers who spend hours in the scorching sun, but also for the field workers who monitor activities. They often have to take long treks on foot or hire a bike, which is always costly.
Daniel Mwatioweni Lucas has gone the extra mile! Fighting malaria in his community is more than just a job; it is love for the community, and knowledge that your work can save lives when you are able to arrive in time to intervene. Daniel has been working with the Trans Cunene Malaria Initiative (TKMI) Angola since 2014 as volunteer, and is now a committed TKMI team member working to end malaria in the country. Reaching everyone in the community is difficult, he says. “ I needed a faster and easier way to reach my community, and so I have bought this. I am taking her home…” (Referring to the bike, to which he has given his wife’s name, Quiteria Bernarda). Amalia, a TKMI team member jokingly reminded him…"and you need to take salt, soap and sugar home too…” to which we all laughed as he smiled, saying “I have…”
Daniel had just received his salary, which had been delayed due to a waiting period for the opening of his bank account. In Cunene, community members like Daniel face daily challenges. Therefore, Daniel’s decision to spend his salary on a new form of transportation that will enable him to reach more community members is wonderful. It is more than a job, and for this, Daniel gets the employee of the year award! We are proud to have such a member on the team.
The Angolan Ministry of Health, together with the Trans Cunene Malaria Initiative (TKMI), tested more than 450 people for malaria at the border post of Santa Clara, Angola. The effort ran alongside World Malaria Day activities on April 25th. The article below was originally published in Portuguese.
Ondjiva - 450 people will be tested during the second phase of the voluntary testing campaign against malaria, which runs from the 19th to 23rd this month at the border post of Santa - Clara, Cunene province, Angola.
The testing campaign fits into the plan of activities in conjunction with the April 25th World Malaria Day celebration, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Trans Cunene Malaria Initiative (TKMI).
At the opening of the campaign, the head of the Department of Public Health and Control of Endemic Diseases, Felix Belarmino Satyohamba said that the objective of activities is to complete a study on malaria plasmodium in the TKMI area, which runs between the southern border and the Republic of Namibia, in order to facilitate preventive measures.
"Our intention is to test the largest number of people possible in order to minimize cases of the disease that has increased in recent times, in order to unify the health centers, reduce mortality rates and ensure prevention among people," he said.
The official explained that this is the second round of testing of malaria, part of a study which will end in September this year. Other activities include a gender activity program on April 30th which will be held in the municipalities of Cuanhama and Cuvelai.
Felix Belarmino Satyohamba informed that during the first round of this campaign, held between March 2014 and October 2015, over a thousand people were tested.
Statistics of Provincial Health Department in Cunene indicate that the first quarter of 2016 15,561 new cases of malaria were recorded, resulting in the death of 82 people, compared to 7,950 cases and 55 deaths the previous period.