Category Archives: Advocacy

“Zero Malaria! Count Me In!”: Senegal’s national commitment to the Last Mile to Malaria Elimination

Yacine Djibo, Founder & President of Speak Up Africa is helping focus International Women’s Day (March 8th) on efforts to protect women from malaria in Senegal. She is highlighting the commitments of 8 strong and beautiful women, in Senegal, that are dedicated to eliminating malaria in their country. These commitments are part of an inclusive mass communication campaign that aims to launch a national movement in favor of malaria elimination in Senegal: the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In” campaign

ZeroPaluInternational Women’s Day, represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women all around the world. This year’s theme is “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture it” envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education or fighting malaria. Below is the fifth feature on women fighting malaria.

Mrs. Oulèye Bèye, Head of the Prevention & Partnership Department at the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), likes to remind us the national claim stating that “Technicians cure malaria but communities fight it”. It is a simple, yet powerful statement that summarizes the very purpose of all our endeavors. Efforts to reach remote populations and positively change communities’ behaviors are a constant battle for the NMCP.

3. Ouleye Beye ENG

Mrs. Oulèye Bèye, National Malaria Control Program, Senegal

The scale up of proven interventions recommended by the World Health Organization, have been essential in achieving this drastic decrease in malaria mortality rates over the years. These strategies include ensuring the availability of Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in health facilities, the mass distribution of free mosquito nets and the introduction of rapid diagnostic tests.

To be effective, all of them require significant and unconditional uptake by beneficiaries. Needless to say that the successes achieved through effective and safe malaria control campaigns, a strong national leadership and a dynamic set of partners are all at risk, if we fail to realize that populations must no longer be considered as plain beneficiaries but as stakeholders of utmost importance.

iwd_squareBy leading the effort around the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In” campaign at the national level, Ouleye strives to create a popular movement and actively engage each and every Senegalese citizen in the fight for a malaria-free Senegal. Sensitization and awareness raising must be the first step of any malaria elimination intervention if we want to achieve positive results in the long run.

*****

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a creative health communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing African leadership, enabling policy change, securing resources and inspiring individual action for the most pressing issue affecting Africa’s future: child health.

Counting on Sadane Ndiaye and other community supervisors like her to eliminate malaria in Senegal

Yacine Djibo, Founder & President of Speak Up Africa is helping focus International Women’s Day (March 8th) on efforts to protect women from malaria in Senegal. She is highlighting the commitments of 8 strong and beautiful women, in Senegal, that are dedicated to eliminating malaria in their country. These commitments are part of an inclusive mass communication campaign that aims to launch a national movement in favor of malaria elimination in Senegal: the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In” campaign

ZeroPaluInternational Women’s Day, represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women all around the world. This year’s theme is “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture it” envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education or fighting malaria. Below is the fourth feature on women fighting malaria.

Along with 369 community supervisors throughout Senegal, Sadane Ndiaye of the Keur Momar Sarr district completed a one-week comprehensive training to learn all aspects of malaria treatment, prevention and care as a part of the Football Combatting Malaria Program (FCM). FCM, implemented through a partnership with local health districts, the National Malaria Control Program, Speak Up Africa, Aspire Academy, and the Leo Messi Foundation, catalyzes grassroots advocacy and behavior change communication to further reduce the burden of malaria in the community.

Sadane Ndiaye, Supervisor, Football Combating Malaria, Senegal

Sadane Ndiaye, Supervisor, Football Combating Malaria, Senegal

At the end of the week-long course, which included key information on how to install and properly maintain insecticide treated mosquito nets, Sadane became a Community Supervisor, charged with returning to her community and training four additional change agents. Daily, Sadane leads this team in malaria awareness activities including household visits, lectures, and social mobilization activities, reaching hundreds of community members and making a sustainable impact.

Football Combating Malaria aims to emphasize communication and community leadership to beat this disease. As a community supervisor, Sadane sets the example of exactly that which is needed to reach a malaria free Senegal.

iwd_squareThank you Sadane for joining the national malaria elimination effort and educating your fellow community members around malaria prevention and treatment.

*****

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a creative health communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing African leadership, enabling policy change, securing resources and inspiring individual action for the most pressing issue affecting Africa’s future: child health.

Leading by Example: Ndeye Marieme Ba, Basketball Coach at SEED Academy supports the Zero Malaria! Count Me In campaign

Yacine Djibo, Founder & President of Speak Up Africa is helping focus International Women’s Day (March 8th) on efforts to protect women from malaria in Senegal. She is highlighting the commitments of 8 strong and beautiful women, in Senegal, that are dedicated to eliminating malaria in their country. These commitments are part of an inclusive mass communication campaign that aims to launch a national movement in favor of malaria elimination in Senegal: the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In” campaign

iwd_squareInternational Women’s Day, represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women all around the world. This year’s theme is “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture it” envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education or fighting malaria. Below is the third feature on women fighting malaria.

Ndeye Marieme Ba is a basketball coach and a physical education teacher at Malick Sy, Junior High School in Thies. She is dedicated to enabling change in Senegal by focusing on the youth and using sports as a platform to educate them about malaria and other diseases that may threaten their healthy future.

Ndeye Marieme Ba, Basketball Coach at SEED Academy in Thies, Senegal

Ndeye Marieme Ba, Basketball Coach at SEED Academy in Thies, Senegal

Increasingly, sport is used to help improve the lives of those who need it the most. Basketball is the third most popular sport after wrestling and football, and at SEED Academy, it is used as a tool to promote education and teach life skills. The SEED Academy campus, situated in Thies, was opened to boys in 2002, and combines sport and education to train the next generation of elite players in Senegal. Following heavy demand from girls, eager to join, a female course was set up.

The burden of malaria is the heaviest in Africa, where an estimated 90% of all malaria deaths occur. In 2013, children under 5 account for 78% of all deaths. Bringing awareness among the leaders of tomorrow is fundamental to put an end to malaria deaths in Africa.

Thank you Ndeye Marieme for leading by example and allowing Senegal’s future citizens to have a “healthy mind in a healthy body”.

*****

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a creative health communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing African leadership, enabling policy change, securing resources and inspiring individual action for the most pressing issue affecting Africa’s future: child health.

Leading by Example: Senegal’s Minister of Health supports the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In!” campaign

Yacine Djibo, Founder & President of Speak Up Africa is helping focus International Women’s Day (March 8th) on efforts to protect women from malaria in Senegal. She is highlighting the commitments of 8 strong and beautiful women, in Senegal, that are dedicated to eliminating malaria in their country. These commitments are part of an inclusive mass communication campaign that aims to launch a national movement in favor of malaria elimination in Senegal: the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In” campaign

iwd_squareInternational Women’s Day, represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women all around the world. This year’s theme is “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture it” envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education or fighting malaria. Below is the second feature on women fighting malaria.

Pr. Awa Marie Coll Seck, the former Executive Secretary of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership pursues her fight against malaria in her own country, Senegal, as Minister of Health. Known for her smooth diplomatic skills and experience in policy formulation, she leads an aggressive reform striving to eliminate all deaths due to malaria in Senegal.

Pr. Awa Marie Coll Seck, Minister of Health and Social Action, Senegal

Pr. Awa Marie Coll Seck, Minister of Health and Social Action, Senegal

As global leadership increasingly realizes that the international strategy demands a strong local response and the most active engagement of beneficiaries, Senegal’s Minister of Health walks the talk. The Zero Malaria! Count Me In! campaign aims at creating a movement around the importance of accountability and individual responsibility when it comes to putting an end to this preventable disease. Malaria elimination demands the coordinated efforts of all sectors of society.

As the Minister of Health pledges to build capacity within health facilities so that they are able to properly manage simple and severe cases of malaria, the Zero Malaria! Count Me In! campaign insists on the necessary parallel commitment that Senegalese people need to make in order for the country to reach its malaria elimination objective.

Since the past decade, the country has made tremendous progress and reduced malaria mortality by 62%. Over 6.5 million of insecticide treated mosquito nets were distributed throughout the country and lifesaving medicines are now available in public health facilities free of charge.

Women being the primary caretakers of their families, International Women Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate the leadership of Senegalese women throughout the country, without whom, malaria elimination could never become a reality.

Thank you Minister for leading by example and proving that actions speak louder than words.

Happy International Women Day to all!

*****

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a creative health communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing African leadership, enabling policy change, securing resources and inspiring individual action for the most pressing issue affecting Africa’s future: child health.

Association of Women Doctors of Senegal joins the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In!” campaign to eliminate malaria in Senegal

Yacine Djibo, Founder & President of Speak Up Africa is helping focus International Women’s Day (March 8th) on efforts to protect women from malaria in Senegal. She is highlighting the commitments of 8 strong and beautiful women, in Senegal, that are dedicated to eliminating malaria in their country. These commitments are part of an inclusive mass communication campaign that aims to launch a national movement in favor of malaria elimination in Senegal: the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In” campaign

International Women’s Day, represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women all around the world. This year’s theme is “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture it” envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education or fighting malaria. Below is the first feature on women fighting malaria.

Amy Ndao Fall

Amy Niambo Ndao Fall, President of the Association of Women Doctors

Dr. Amy Ndao Fall is the President of the Association of Women Doctors of Senegal (AFEMS). This Association, composed of 400 members across the country, aims to undertake sustainable activities for the health of the Senegalese populations.

On the eve of Women International Day, in partnership with the Ministry of health and UN women, AFEMS organized in Dakar on March 7, a conference on the theme “women’s health for an emergent Senegal”.

This conference attracted approximately 150 women from all over the country and was chaired by Professor Awa Marie Coll Seck, Minister of Health and Social Action of Senegal.

The conference started with Dr. Ndao signing a pledge, on behalf of AFEMS to support the “Zero Malaria, Count me In” campaign and the National Malaria Control Program in their elimination efforts.

Dr. Ndao stated the association’s commitment to support all efforts toward malaria elimination in Senegal and abroad and concluded with the following words:

ZeroPalu“It is a pleasure and an honour for me, to sign this engagement on behalf of AFEMS, to mobilize all our efforts to eliminate malaria in Senegal. We need to keep in mind that women are particularly vulnerable to this disease and that they can be change agents in their families for more efficient vector control in particular by promoting the systematic use of long lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets for all their family members.”

On this International Women Day, we celebrate and thank Dr. Ndao and all the women Doctors of Senegal for their leadership and commitment to eliminate malaria and are proud to see such amazing partners joining efforts to make Zero Malaria a reality in Senegal.

*****

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a creative health communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing African leadership, enabling policy change, securing resources and inspiring individual action for the most pressing issue affecting Africa’s future: child health.

Malaria Care: Can We Achieve Universal Coverage?

uhc-day-badgeIn New York on 12 December 2014, a new global coalition of more than 500 leading health and development organizations worldwide was launched to advocate for universal coverage (UC) and urged “governments to accelerate reforms that ensure everyone, everywhere, can access quality health services without being forced into poverty.” This marked Universal Health Coverage Day which fell on the “two-year anniversary of a United Nations resolution … which endorsed universal health coverage as a pillar of sustainable development and global security.”

According to WHO delivery of UC involves four components:

  1. A strong, efficient, well-run health system
  2. Affordable care
  3. Accessible care
  4. A health workforce with sufficient capacity to meet patient needs

To this list we might add a functioning and timely procurement and supply management system, and not trust people to read between the lines on component #1 to consider this need.

DSCN2885aWhile much attention in malaria control is appropriately on prevention through various vector control measures, we cannot forget the importance of prompt and appropriate case management, especially as cases decline (according to the new 2014 World Malaria Report) and case detection assumes greater importance.

In 2000 Roll Back Malaria sponsored the Abuja Summit where targets were set for malaria intervention coverage. The goals were established at 80% for insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), intermittent preventive treatment and prompt and appropriate malaria treatment. In 2009, the United Nations declared a goal of universal coverage for ITNs. The potential for UC in malaria case management remained vague, but the new international push for US can certainly include malaria. It would not be coming too late because as we can see from the chart, many endemic countries are far from adequate malaria treatment coverage, let alone UC.

Slide1Frequent surveys help us track progress toward RBM goals and UC – Demographic and Health Survey, Malaria Information Survey, Multi Indicator Cluster Survey. Their helpfulness depends on the questions asked. The 2013 MIS from Rwanda gets closest to finding out what is really happening (Chart 2). We might infer a sequence of events that while not everyone seeks care for their febrile child, those who do are screened by the health worker (including volunteer community health workers); those suspected of malaria are tested (microscopy in clinics, RDTs in communities); and only those found positive are given ACTs.

Slide2Equity is a major concern for advocates of UC. Health insurance is one method to address this. In Ghana around 60% of people have taken part in the National Health Insurance Scheme, but only around 5% in Nigeria where 60% of health expenditure comes from out-of-pocket purchases. Rwanda has a system of mutuelles – community insurance schemes. Insurance does not meet the full need for malaria case management, and thus efforts to expand outlets for affordable quality malaria medicines through the Affordable Medicines Facility malaria (AMFm) was piloted in several countries.

A combination of approaches is needed to achieve UC in malaria case management. Public and private sources are requires. Low cost, subsidized and free care must to be part of the mix. Over half a million people, mostly children, are still dying from malaria annually. Solving the UC challenge for malaria is crucial.

UN General Assembly Resolves to Fight Malaria

unlogo_blue_sml_enGhanaWeb reported this morning that, “The United Nations General Assembly at its 68th Session, adopted Resolution A/68/L.60, “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Efforts to Control and Eliminate Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa, by 2015” by consensus.”

Likewise the UN itself issued a press release confirming that in a final act the Assembly adopted this resolution in order to call for increased support for the implementation of international commitments and goals pertaining to the fight to eliminate malaria. GhanaWeb reiterated the UN’s message that, “with just less than 500 days until the 2015 deadline of the MDGs, the adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly reiterates the commitment of UN Member States to keep malaria high on the international development agenda.”

The UN Press Release explained that, “The resolution urged malaria-endemic countries to work towards financial sustainability to increase national resources allocated to controlling that disease, while also working with the private sector to improve access to quality medical services.  Further, the resolution called upon Member States to establish or strengthen national policies, operational plans and research, with a view to achieving internationally agreed malaria targets for 2015.”

DSCN0730This effort is consistent with moves two years ago in the 66th General Assembly when it called for “accelerated efforts to eliminate malaria in developing countries, particularly Africa, by 2015, in consensus resolution” (document A/66/L.58) where the “Consolidating Gains …” document was first shared. The draft of the 2012  resolution, according to the UN Press release was sponsored by Liberia on behalf of the African Group, and called on Member States, particularly malaria-endemic countries, to strengthen national policies and operational plans, with a view to scaling up efforts to achieve internationally agreed malaria targets for 2015.

The sad irony of Liberia’s current predicament wherein the Ebola epidemic is rendering it nearly impossible to provide malaria services should give us pause. According to Reuters, “Treatable diseases such as malaria and diarrhea are left untended because frightened Liberians are shunning medical centers, and these deaths could outstrip those from the Ebola virus by three or four fold.”

The new resolution (A/68/L.60) in calling for increases national resources allocated to controlling that disease from public and private sources demonstrates the importance of national commitment to sustain and advance malaria control into the era of malaria elimination. It is now up to local malaria advocates to ensure that their governments, as well as private sector and local NGO partners, follow through to guarantee the needed quantity and quality of malaria services.

Behavior Change for Malaria: Are We Focusing on the Right ‘Targets’

Two articles caught my attention this morning. One reviewed the merits of improved social and behavior change communication (BCC) for the evolving malaria landscape. The other addressed the damage institutional corruption is doing in Africa. And yes, there is a connection.

When I was trained as a community or public health educator in the MPH program at UNC Chapel Hill, the term BCC had not yet been coined. We were clearly focused on human behavior and health.  What was especially interesting about the emphasis of that program was the need to cast a wide net on the human beings whose behaviors influence health.

DSCN7742 CHW flipchart

BCC of individuals and communities may not be enough

While the authors in Malaria Journal state that, “The purpose of this commentary is to highlight the benefits and value for money that BCC brings to all aspects of malaria control, and to discuss areas of operations research needed as transmission dynamics change,” a closer look shows that the behaviors of interest are those of individuals and communities who do not consistently use bed nets, delay in seeking effective treatment, and do not take advantage of the the distribution of intermittent preventive therapy (IPTp) during pregnancy. The shortfalls in the behavior of other humans is lies in not “fully explaining” these interventions to community members.

The health education (behavior change, communications, etc. etc.) program at Chapel Hill taught us that a comprehensive intervention included not only means and media for reaching the community, but also processes to train health workers to perform more effectively, to advocate with policy makers to adopt and fund health programs, and intervene in the work environment using organizational change strategies to ensure programs actually reached people whose adoption of our interventions (nets, medicines) could improve their health.

At UNC we tried to focus change on all humans in the process from health staff to policy makers to ensure that we would not be blaming the community for failing to adopt programs that were not made appropriately accessible and available to them. We did not call it a systems approach then, but clearly it was.

This brings me back to the article on corruption. Let’s compare these two quotes from the IRIN article …

  • The region accounts for 11 percent of the world’s population, but carries 24 percent of the global disease burden. It also bears a heavy burden of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria but lacks the resources to provide even basic health services.
  • Poor public services in many West African countries, with already dire human development indicators, are under constant pressure from pervasive corruption. Observers say graft is corroding proper governance and causing growing numbers of people to sink into poverty.

Illicit cash transfers out of countries and bribery of civil servants, including health workers, are manifestations of the same problem at different ends of the spectrum resulting in less access to basic services and health commodities.  Continued national Demographic and Health Surveys show that well beyond 2010 when the original Roll Back Malaria Partnership coverage targets of 80% were supposed to have been achieved, we see few malaria endemic countries have achieved the basics, and some have regressed. Everyone is bemoaning the lack of adequate international funding for malaria (and HIV and TB and NTDs), but what has happened with the money already spent?

Without a systems approach to health behavior and efforts by development partners to hold all those involved accountable, we cannot expect that the behavior of individuals and communities will win the war against malaria.

Malawi Vice President Launches the 2013 SADC Malaria Day

Daniso Mbewe, the Knowledge and Information Management Officer of SARN has shared with us a Press Release from the Southern African Regional Network Secretariat (SARN) of the RBM Partnership in Southern Africa. The commemoration was held under the THEME: “Be free of Malaria in SADC Region”

Vice President of Malawi SADC Malaria Day 2013 smSALIMA, MALAWI,  08 November, 2013: The Vice President of Malawi, Rt. Hon. Khumbo Hastings Kachali, launched the 2013 SADC Malaria Day Events in the malaria endemic Lake Malawi town of Salima. The events were attended by Health Ministers and senior health officers and national malaria managers from SADC countries (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, Zambia and Zimbabwe, SADC Secretariat, SARN Secretariat, USAID, the uniformed Forces (military/police), RBM partners, provincial, district and local political, religious and traditional leaders, communities and school children.

The presence of traditional dance troops, dreamers, actors (drama troops) and school children made the event colorful and highly entertaining. Of special mention is Illovo Sugar a member of the SARN private sector constituency which donated 1 million Malawi Kwacha for the event and provided a demonstration of the T3, IRS, LLINs, IPTP and BCC/IEC.

Senior Chief Kalonga thanked SADC and the Malawi government for bringing the event to his region because Salima has a lot of malaria which is impacting on development especially workers, school children, pregnant women, teachers and fishermen. He thanked the National Malaria Control Program for distributing LLINs and other interventions which are on-going in his region.

Malawi Minister, Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara – emphasized the need to continue protecting the women and that they should attend ANCs and demand for malaria protection while encouraging all members of the family and community to report early for treatment. She thanked the RBM and partners for the continued support and technical guidance from  the WHO.

The Rt. Hon Khumbo Hastings Kachali, the Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, a former Minister of Health said that he was informed that there is now a trend showing a decrease in cases and deaths in Salima and he would like to see this replicated nationally. He however, warned the communities that this could be derailed by those people who use nets for fishing (Salima is a fishing community), sell nets, do not sleep under nets, do not complete theiSADC Malaria Day 2013r treatment and women who refuse to take IPTp. By 2015 he said  “Malawi should have distributed over 10 million LLINs” much to the applaud of the participants.

The Vice President thanked SADC Member States and all those who attended and that this level of collaboration, interaction and information sharing should continue to blossom. He further emphasized that the attainment of the MDGs is a priority for all SADC countries and as the SADC chair, Malawi will continue to encourage countries and also to appraise the Heads of States on progress made and challenges the Ministries of Health are facing especially domestic funding, health infrastructure, equipment, shortage of human resources and skill levels.

The main outcome was high and community levels advocacy, SARN-RBM visibility, regional collaboration and community education via several drama/plays with malaria themes and messages.

MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference is Coming

MIMThe main program for 6th MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference is available at the Medical Research Council website: http://mim2013.mrc.ac.za/programme.htm. We will be using #MIM2013 to share tweets. The conference runs from 6-11 October 2013 in Durban, South Africa. There will be a variety of presentation formats including Plenaty sessions, symposia, parallel scientific sessions and poster sessions/exhibits.  Many partners will be hosting special events.

Plenaries will highlight the current status of malaria intervention as well as look toward the future. In that vein several sessions address malaria elimination as for example …

  • Plenary Lecture VII by Prof Alan Magill “Strategies for realising malaria elimination and eventual eradication”
  • Plenary Lecture V by Dr Robert Newman“From a one-size-fits-all to a tailored approach for malaria control and elimination.”
  • Symposium 19: Targeting malaria elimination in Zanziba. Prof Anders Bjorkman
  • Symposium 58: Malaria eradication: identifying and targeting the residual parasite pool Mr Simon Kunene
  • Symposium 41: The final decade of malaria in Africa: planning for the endgame

There are sessions on case management issues ranging from severe malaria to better diagnostics. The role of the private sector is addressed. Vector biology and entomology are featured.

Not only will there be formal media coverage of events, including interviews with key players in malaria control and elimination, but the Roll Back Malaria partnership is mobilizing its Working Group members and partners to provide a full range of social media exposure for MIM events on Facebook, twitter and various blogs.  Keep your eyes on this page for the latest updates as news is being released.