This post is part of our Unite To Fight series, which supports the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria's efforts in calling attention to the critical need to maintain the gains the world has made towards malaria elimination.
In Zambia, threats of COVID-19 have coincided with peak malaria season – a time when vulnerable communities are most at risk for malaria outbreaks. This situation presents unique challenges for malaria program coordinators and field staff who are part of the Anglican Diocese of Lusaka Cross Border Malaria Initiative.
Monica Mvula, a program coordinator based in Mongu district, has facilitated the distribution of soap and PPE for malaria volunteers in Simulumbe, together with health facility staff. These items will help protect the volunteers from COVID-19 and will reduce the risk of community spread in the case that COVID-19 reaches Mongu. At the same time, Monica is doing all she can to address a malaria outbreak and stock outs of rapid malaria tests.
Monica shared information about a particularly concerning situation in Simulumbe in late April, where 195 malaria cases were diagnosed in just one week. After confirming these cases, the clinic ran out of rapid tests. Therefore, the actual number of cases was likely higher.
With support from the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, Monica was able to urgently step in and provide the clinic with 225 rapid tests to ensure suspected malaria cases could be tested according to protocols.
Though malaria is spreading, it is being confronted by Monica and a team of trained malaria volunteers. As of today, Monica is continuing to follow up on untreated cases within her program areas in Mongu.