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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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A Meaningful dialogue

An  interesting dialogue has begun in Kisumu to encourage better interaction among researchers,  trial  participants and the community.

The  dialogue  is  aimed  at  developing a mutually-beneficial  partnership  to  help maximize the outcome and sustainability of research  work undertaken in the  community.

The initiative by Kenya Medical  Research Institute (KEMRI) and Walter Reed Project (WRP) has led to a partnership with Kisumu West  Community and the formation of a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to help in steering health related activities.

Established in August 2011, the CAB has a goal of engaging the Kisumu west commu- nity  in  a  meaningful  relationship  that enhances the success of KEMRI/WRP health research activities in malaria and infectious diseases.

Like any other  cherished initiative,  the Kisumu CAB cements the working relation- ship between the  community, researchers and the research participants in the various studies conducted in the region through the Kombewa Clinical Trial Center, which has cut a niche in malaria clinical trials.

This unique community initiative  includes making  an  input  into  the  design  and implementation of research protocols that are used by the center, and to inform the community about  research  objectives as well as helping  in  creating  a  supportive environment for the various health research activities  going on  in the  Kisumu  West District.

According to Dr. Lucas Otieno, one of the center's researchers, the CAB also has a role in serving as a voice for  community and study  participants,  including  relaying concerns to  the  research teams. This has greatly enhanced the research work as the community feel part of the initiative hence a sense of ownership.

He says preparation of the  community members for participation in clinical trials forms another integral role of the CAB as its members  understand  the  region  and  its people better.

With the  improved understanding of  the research work being  carried out  by the center,  the  community  members  have become part of some of the decisions made in relation to the research activities.

“Through such interactions we have seen the elimination  of negative  perceptions  by sections of community members who were suspicious about research in the area,” says Dr. Lucas Otieno.

While appreciating the great improvements that the center has had through the CAB, senior researcher Dr. Walter Otieno, said the members of the board act as ambassadors of the community and the research center as well as a direct link between the two.
“The CAB also gives the community members feedback from the  researchers about  'their  concerns  and  informs  the community about research finding s together with researchers as was the case in the dissemination of results of clinical trials,” says Dr. Walter Otieno, Principal Investiga- tor at the Kombewa Clinical Trial Center.

Noting that  health related problems have been a hindrance to development in various aspects in the area, the CAB together with researchers, is  promoting  awareness of common  diseases in the  community  and control  strategies through  community activities on World Malaria day and World TB day among others.

The center's community and communications  officer,  Dr Nekoye  Otsyula, says the  Board has greatly  helped in the smooth communication between the center and community members, adding that the mutual understanding has resulted in a great partnership between  KEMRI/WRP and  the Kisumu West Community.

So how then  does  the  Board  help  in achieving its set goals?

Peter Sifuna who receives  updates  from community members regarding the types of research carried out by the center, says that CAB members are appointed for a period of 5 years and they meet every quarter to review and discuss on-going and    upcoming studies at the site.

During these  meetings, explains  Sifuna, various researchers take the opportunity to present  impending  studies and the  plans they have put in place. In addition, they get updates on the current status of on-going studies, he says.

Sifuna  notes  that  through  the  CAB  the KEMRI-Walter  Reed  Project  hopes  to continue the mutually - beneficial partnership with the community and also meet any challenges that may lie ahead.

“The CAB members have undergone training  on  internationally- accepted standards for research  like  Good Clinical Practice and Human Subjects Protection. A Standard Operating Procedure with terms of reference for their work has also been developed,” he told Eyes on Malaria.

“The Board has a total of 12 members with diverse backgrounds. The  composition of the  CAB  takes  into  consideration geographic representation within the Kisumu West District, gender, the youth,  persons with disability, clergy and lay persons.”

”The  main challenge is financial  as  we would like to support the CAB in a more sustainable manner to ensure more activities in the community, offer training opportunities  and interaction with  other CABs  with more experience in  order to strengthen their role,” says Sifuna.
 
By Bernard Okebe-Kisumu,  Kenya

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