QA Project Implements Africa Malaria Day Activities in Kenya
by Cynthia F. Young, Senior Staff Writer

To commemorate Africa Malaria Day on April 25th, the QA Project has implemented a community-based information campaign to educate the public on proper malaria treatment in the Bungoma District of Kenya.

Spearheaded by the Roll Back Malaria Global Partnership, this year's theme is "Mobilizing Communities to Roll Back Malaria." Roll Back Malaria was founded in 1998 by WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, and the World Bank with the goal of halving the world's malaria burden by 2010. The disease causes more than 1 million deaths a year, mostly to African children under 5 years old.

The worldwide event was intended to create awareness on the global, regional, country, and local level to mobilize communities to fight malaria. Community events were scheduled across Africa, including malaria awareness activities in local clinics and hospitals, demonstrations, plays performed by local drama groups, festivals, parades, and fairs.

To mark Africa Malaria Day, the QA Project, working with health professionals from the Bungoma District Health Management Team (DHMT), promoted several activities, including community song contests, to spread the word about correct malaria treatment throughout the district. Each village was invited to present a team to compete against other district villages. The winners' songs was then broadcast throughout the district over the radio.

A key part of the team's message was to encourage the public to use the correct drugs that contain sulfadoxine pyrimethamine, or SP.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has produced two public information brochures on malaria. An informational brochure describes how to protect against and treat malaria. It includes instructions on how to use specially treated bed nets, to use the right SP malaria drug such as Falcidin or Fansidar, and how to take the drug. The brochure also warns against using drugs containing chloroquine, which is not effective because most residents have developed a resistance to it.

The second brochure, produced by the MOH with help from USAID, the QA Project, and several regional organizations, tells the story of two mothers, each with babies who have malaria. One mother encourages the other to ask a shopkeeper for medication that contains SP. After buying and administering the SP drug to her child, the second mother is happy that it was the correct treatment to cure her baby.

District public health technicians spread the word about proper malaria treatment by distributing the brochures throughout the district. Each technician visited five villages, and gave brochures to their top five contacts in each village. Then, each of these individuals shared the materials with five more people in their village, and so forth.

Since 2000, the QA Project has been working in Bungoma District with the DHMT on a malaria education program to inform private drug outlets, such as small shops, pharmacies, and clinics, about the Ministry's new malaria treatment guidelines. To read an article about the QA Projects successful malaria drug-study intervention, visit the archives of the Whats New section on the QA Project website: Roll-Back Malaria Conference Showcases the QA Project's Malaria Drug Study: Innovative Intervention Educates Kenyans on Correct Treatment. To read the report on this drug-study intervention, visit the Products section on the QA Project website for the Operations Research Results: Vendor to Vendor Education to Improve Malaria Treatment by Drug Outlets in Kenya.

A research team developed a vendor-to-vendor program using wholesale drug vendors to orient drug retailers on the new guidelines. Vendors distributed job aid posters explaining the correct SP drugs and dosages to more than 500 private drug outlets in the district. The team then evaluated the program, which showed a dramatic improvement in shopkeepers' knowledge and compliance with malaria guidelines among outlets that received the posters.

For more information on Africa Malaria Day, visit the Roll Back Malaria website:

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