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The Latest Edition of "Eyes on malaria" magazine will be out very soon!! | CALL FOR ARTICLES: AMMREN is inviting journalists / writers / scientists interested in reporting on malaria to send articles for publication in its international magazine “Eyes on Malaria” and for posting on its website. Please contact the AMMREN Secretariat for more details click here. Enjoy your stay!. Volunteers and interns urgently needed to work with an NGO working in the area of malaria and health. Apply through - ammren1@gmail.com / ammren1@yahoo.com. Journalists interested in reporting on and writing articles on health issues should please reply through this email: ammren1@gmail.com

ANNOUNCEMENTS:::

TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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  • Volume 1

Folks solve problems better

A meaningful engagement with the beneficiary community is vital to the success of any social intervention. It confirms the stance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the handling of complex and dynamic public health problems requires an emphasis on the value of people.

The global health authority holds the view that people who own the problem can anticipate the most likely social obstacles to its resolution, and their participation is essential to maintain an evolving strategy that can institutionalize an approach to the problem.

“Decades of community-based participatory research have shown that people from the community and their political leaders have to be included as full participants in problem solving. People are not just passive clients. They must be involved in deciding which problems need addressing, identifying the root causes and finding long-term solutions,” said the WHO.

This seems to be the secret behind the success story of the AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control Limited (AGAMal) in Obuasi. The programme has used multiple approaches in the campaign to eliminate malaria from the community. However it gained international recognition for its success in indoor residual praying (IRS).

Looking back at when the project started 9 years ago, Mr Eric Obu Buetey, Chief Operations Officer of the project, said it was very crucial the community bought into it right from the start.

“Without the full support of the community, whatever project you intend to do, no matter the benefits, it will not succeed,” he said.

Mr Buetey said the AGAMal project took 2 years to do its preparatory work in informing and educating the Obuasi community before it started actual work on the ground in 2006.

He said the project allowed each community to select its own leaders who served as the bridge between them and AGAMal. These leaders, known as community-based advocates (CBAs), were rained on the dangers of malaria and how to mobilize the support of the people to create a better acceptance of the project.

“Even with the hard work done by educating the people on the benefits of IRS, the programme still faced initial challenges as people refused to allow their homes to be sprayed because of the smell or odour that the insecticide left behind. What AGAMal did was to find other insecticides that did not have the unbearable smell. It worked and the intervention was effective due to the community support that it continues to receive,” Mr Buetey said.

In appreciation of the mutually-beneficial relationship, Nana Sarfo Kantanka, Bidieso and New Nsuta Odikro, said the IRS programme has been very helpful to the community, and Obuasi is the beneficiary of an almost malaria-free society.

“At first we all did not understand so we did not give them our full support. But now that we understand the benefits of the spraying exercise to our health, we always ensure that our palace is sprayed anytime the exercise begins.”

According to Nana Sarfo, the locals are intrigued by the fact that IRS does not only kill malaria causing mosquitoes but also kills all other crawling insects in sight.

“Now when I sit in state, I use the oppor tuni ty to educate my subjects on the need to ensure that their households are sprayed by the IRS teams to avoid malaria.

Having worked as a miner for 32 years, I have had my fair share of malaria. My colleagues and I used to get malaria. But now the introduction of the IRS has helped to reduce the incidence of malaria in the whole community.”

Malaria, he said, was a common occurrence in the community due to the mining activity and the most affected were women and children.

“Before AGAMal, all sickness was malaria related. I remember some years back, the company started with a method called fogging. With this they sprayed some smoky substance into the air. Although this helped, it was stopped. Then the IRS was introduced,” he said.

As the chairman of the stake-holder engagement committee, Nana Sarfo promised to ensure that the folks continue to support the work of AGAMal as it was beneficial to everyone in the community.

Aside Nana Sarfo, other chiefs have showed their commitment by select ing three t rustwor thy people each from their communities to serve as CBAs for the IRS project.

One such advocate group is in Ahansonyewodea near Obuasi. Its members are George Aidoo, Adjoa Asantewaa and Ruth Oppong. They were selected by the chief of the Ahansonyewodea community together with other opinion leaders to ensure that people were well informed and supported the spray team.

According to Mr Aidoo, they now serve as the mouthpiece of the AGAMal project in the community.

He said as liaisons between the people and the project, their role is to report on the concerns of the community about the spraying exercise, and whether it was effective or not. With the support of chiefs, the IRS project has over 86 CBAs across communities in Obuasi who are helping to ensure that the IRS succeeds.

According to the Obuasi Municipal Director of Health Services, Dr. David Kwasi Amankwa, for health promotion to work well, it must be carried out by and with people.

This means that at all stages of the health intervention communities are involved and retain ownership of any health action.

He said the AGAMal project has had effective collaboration with the health system in the municipality, which translated into effective community participation “Today, we all look forward to the spraying teams to come into our homes and spray as there has been a lot of education on the benefits of the spraying exercise to the health of the people. People have embraced the work of the programme because they are involved in both the planning and Nana Sar its execution.”
 

Editions: 
Special Edition Two