Category Archives: Community

Application d’un audit de la qualité des données (DQA) du paludisme dans le district sanitaire de Kribi, Cameroun

Kodjo Morgah, Naibei Mbaïbardoum, Mathurin Dodo, et Eric Tchinda from Jhpiego share their experiences in improving malaria data quality in Kribi District, Cameroon. The project was funded by the ExxonMobil Foundation. Their findings are presented below.

Les indicateurs clés du paludisme En 2015 dans le district sanitaire de Kribi, Cameroun, le mortalité palustre était 19% et le morbidité palustre était 29%. En outre, le couverture du premier traitement de TPI était 76% et 55% pour le deuxième.

Les interventions du projet Amélioration de la qualité des services de contrôle du paludisme au Tchad et au Cameroun sont montrés dans le diagramme ci-joint.

Les activités DQA ont commencé en 2012. Au début du projet, les formations sanitaires de Kribi ne disposaient pas d’une gestion des données suffisante en termes de fiabilité, de complétude et de promptitude des registres des formations sanitaires et des rapports soumis. En 2013 nous avons formé des prestataires de Kribi en prévention et traitement du paludisme, y compris la collecte et la gestion des données, et collaboration avec l’équipe cadre de district (ECD) du Ministère de la Santé Publique (MSP) pour institutionnaliser les réunions mensuelles de vérification et de validation des données. Puis en 2015 nous avons développé et diffusé d’affiches de suivi des données pour aider les formations sanitaires à suivre les indicateurs clés du paludisme afin de soutenir une prise de décision efficace. L’année passe, en 2017, le DQA est réalisé.

Objectifs du DQA sont d’améliorer la qualité des données du paludisme dans le district de Kribi; identifier les erreurs systématiques; apprécier les sous-déclarations et/ou sur-déclarations; mesurer la concordance des données rapportées; apprécier la précision, la validité, la fiabilité, et la complétude des données collectées; et renforcer les capacités des ECD et du PNLP.

Pour mettre en œuvre du DQA, nous avons sélectionné huit indicateurs du paludisme et un indicateur général. Le projet a adapté des outils de collecte des données développés par le projet MEASURE Evaluation financé par l’USAID. Puis, il a facilité le constitution et orientation des équipes d’évaluateurs des données composées du personnel de Jhpiego et des membres de l’ECD. Apres ça, les équipes commencent le réalisation du DQA dans des sites sélectionnés

Modalités :

  • Aucun problème de qualité des données, si la mDA est comprise entre 100% et 90%
  • Problèmes mineurs de qualité des données, si la mDA est comprise entre 89% et 70%
  • Problèmes majeurs de qualité des données, si la mDA est inférieure à 70%

Conclusions: Le DQA a réussi à identifier les problèmes qui ont affecté la qualité des données dans les formations sanitaires de Kribi. Il a aussi révélé une meilleure qualité des données dans les formations sanitaires rurales que dans les formations sanitaires urbaines. Dans l’ensemble, la qualité des données du paludisme est acceptable dans la majorité des formations sanitaires soutenues par le projet.

L’équipe de projet doit soutenir le personnel et les formations sanitaires du MS du district dans l’intégration des recommandations du DQA pour continuer à améliorer la qualité des données.

Recommendations: Il est necessaire de renforcer les capacités des prestataires dans la collecte des données à travers la supervision formative. Dans l’outil de supervision de district, il est utile d’intégrer la vérification et le contrôle des données. Une Aide-mémoire sur la vérification, le contrôle et la validation des données du paludisme devrait être disponible.

Malaria and Primary Health Care: 40 Years after Alma Ata

The Concept of Primary Health Care (PHC) was formalized in 1978 when The World Health Organization and UNICEF convened a major conference in the then Alma Ata in Kazakhstan. The resulting Alma Ata Declaration resulted in advocacy for Health for All, which had evolved into Universal Health Coverage. The Declaration outlined important principles such as community participation in health care planning and delivery, promotion of scientifically sound and acceptable health interventions, the use of community-based health workers (CHWs), and addressing the common endemic health problems in each community. One of those endemic problems common to a majority of communities in Africa is malaria. Now in 2018, 40 years after the Alma Ata Declaration we explore how malaria has progressed within the context of PHC.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) began in 1998, 20 years after Alma Ata. When RBM convened a meeting of African Heads of State in 2000 the resulting Abuja Declaration set targets for major malaria interventions of 80% coverage by 2010. The Abuja Declaration reflected principles of Alma Ata when it called on all member states to undertake health systems reforms which will:

  1. Promote community participation in joint ownership and control of Roll Back Malaria actions to enhance their sustainability.
  2. Make diagnosis and treatment of malaria available as far peripherally as possible including home treatment.
  3. Make appropriate treatment available and accessible to the poorest groups in the community.

By 2011 reality intervened. WHO reported that “In the 10 years that has passed since the Abuja Declaration, there has been progress towards increasing the availability of financial resources for health at least in terms of dollar values. However, there has not been appreciable progress in terms of the commitments the Africa Union governments make to health, or in terms of the proportion of GNI the rich countries devote to Overseas Development Assistance.” Since that time funding from international and bilateral donors has leveled, such that there is even greater need for malaria endemic countries to step forward and guarantee access to malaria prevention and treatment services are available through PHC at the grassroots. Such access needs to move beyond removing barriers to making malaria interventions attractive to the community.

Community Health Workers in Nigeria are trained to provide malaria community case management

Christopher and colleagues looked to the community and examined how response to malaria and other childhood illnesses were faring 30 years since Alma Ata. After they reviewed seven studies of community health workers they concluded that “CHWs in national programmes achieved large mortality reductions of 63% and 36% respectively, when insecticide-treated nets and anti-malarial chemoprophylaxis were delivered, in addition to curative interventions.” (They found little evidence of the effectiveness of these community interventions on pneumonia and diarrhoea.) The challenge they saw was the ability of countries to move beyond successful studies to scale up and sustain community malaria control interventions to the national level and thereby reap the full promises and benefits of PHC.

Others continue to advocate for a community role in achieving malaria goals through PHC. Malaria Consortium has looked at the position of malaria control within the context of Community Based PHC (CBPHC) and the use of CHWs as a means for revisiting Health for All.

Community donates a house in Western Region Ghana to serve as CHPS Compound where malaria services are provided to the community

Ghana’s community-based health planning and services (CHPS) program aims to make primary care accessible at the grass roots. CHPS compounds are small clinics in space usually donated by the community, staffed by community health officers who oversee community based agents (CBAs) and other community volunteers who treat and prevent malaria through integrated community case management. Countries have also build on the community directed intervention approach pioneered by the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control to ensure malaria interventions are delivered through community community planning and action.

Controlling and eventually eliminating malaria will certainly go a long way toward helping achieve Health for All. On this 40th Anniversary year of Alma Ata it is time to ensure that all malaria endemic countries and malaria donors revisit the basic philosophy of community action and participation and ensure that these principals guide us to accessible and sustainable malaria programming by the community “Through their Full Participation.”

(This posting has been extracted from a full article appearing in the April 2018 Issue of Africa Health. Also please join the discussion about Alma Ata at 40 on the forum created by colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.)

Malaria by the numbers: are the statistics real or are they a barrier to community involvement?

George Mwinnyaa grew up in a small village in Ghana, West Africa. “I witnessed the death of several people including my siblings and my father. I became a health volunteer and later a community health worker.” George presented at the Johns Hopkins University TEDx event on 10 March 2018. Below are excerpts from that talk focused on his experiences in malaria interventions in Ghana and reflects on numbers found in public health interventions and questions what these numbers really mean to community members on the ground. George is currently an MHS student studying infectious disease epidemiology at the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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I have always been very skeptical with numbers, particularly numbers that indicate program accomplishments from the developing world. Whenever I see numbers reporting a problem such as the mortality relating to malaria, Pneumonia, or diarrheal diseases- it puzzles me because these are all diseases that have received great attention, and there have been many interventions implemented. Yet these problems still exist, and the question is why?

Today malaria is still among the top causes of infant mortality in many African countries, including Ghana, yet we have mosquito nets, coils, sprays, long sleeved shirts that have been circulating in the country for years……and sometimes I wonder: why?

Total funding for malaria prevention and control was 2.7 billion dollars in 2016. Between 2014-2016, 582 million nets were distributed, of which 505 million were distributed in Africa, yet the number of malaria cases increased from 211 million in 2015 to 216 million in 2016 (WHO-malaria fact sheet, 2017).

I was once a supervisor for the distribution of long-lasting insecticide treated nets in rural communities. The numbers driven world saw big numbers that showed that many pregnant women were not sleeping under mosquito nets and so the solution to solve the malaria problem was to give them mosquito nets.

First, they started out by selling the nets and people would not buy them, then they offered them free to pregnant women and that did not change anything, next they distributed to families in a household and that did not change anything, and finally they implemented what is known as the hanging of long lasting insecticide treated bed nets.

This time we went into a house with a hammer, nails and ropes, and families showed us their bedroom and we hung the net for them. And yet malaria still rules. What happened with the free bed nets is now widely reported across different countries in Africa.
What do the numbers we measure mean to the people they represent?

As an example, there was a man in a small fishing village with seven children. His biggest worry was how to get food for his family. So the world of numbers develops numbers-based interventions, numbers-driven solutions. Reporters found months after the family received the mosquito nets that no one in the family slept under the mosquito nets; instead the man had sown the nets together and used them for fishing to feed his family.

Frustrations abound on both ends of the system, for public health agents and community members. Numbers act as the barrier between the two ends of the “system”, and our goal must be to break the barrier. The numbers that drive interventions can be meaningless to the community people they represent unless we engage the community and learn how our interventions can really help them.

Community Based Intervention in Malaria Training in Myanmar

Nu Nu Khin of Jhpiego who is working on the US PMI “Defeat Malaria Project” led by URC shares observations on the workshop being held in Yangon with national and regional/state malaria program staff to plan how to strengthen malaria interventions at the community level. The workshop has adapted Jhpiego’s Community Directed Intervention training package to the local setting.

Yesterday’s opening speech was being hailed as a significant milestone to give Community-Based Intervention (CBI) training teams the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to effectively provide quality malaria services and quality malaria information.

This core team is going to train the critical groups of community-level implementers including CBI focal persons and malaria volunteers at the community level.

We embarked this important step yesterday with the collaboration of Johns Hopkins University, Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports, and World Health Organization Myanmar.

Participants will be developing action plans to apply the community approach to malaria efforts in townships and villages in three high transmission Rakhine State, Kayin State and Tanintharyi Region.

Baseline for Coverage of Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy for Planning Community Interventions in Burkina Faso

Under supervision from health center Community Health Worker provides SP for IPTp to Pregnant Woman

Now that the World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women in high and stable malaria transmission areas receive three or more doses of Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPTp) with Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, it is necessary to learn ways to reach more women with this intervention. William R. Brieger, Mathurin Dodo, Danielle Burke, Ousmane Badolo, Justin Tiendrebeogo, Kristen Vibbert, Susan J Youll, and Julie R Gutman conducted a baseline household survey of recently pregnant women in Burkina Faso to learn about the extent of current IPTp coverage and where improvements are needed. With support from the US President’s Malaria Initiative and the USAID Maternal and Child Survival Program Their findings were made available at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The World Health Organization recommends intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) to prevent the adverse effects of malaria in pregnancy in high burden settings; IPTp coverage has lagged behind international targets. In Burkina Faso, the 2014 Malaria Indicator Survey found that 22% of women received 3 or more doses of IPTp (IPTp3). In 2014, Burkina Faso’s IPTp policy was updated from recommending 2 doses to providing at least 3 doses of IPTp. Prior studies have suggested that use of community health workers to deliver IPTp can increase coverage.

To improve IPTp coverage, we will pilot community delivery of IPTp within 3 southern districts: Po, Ouargaye, and Batie. Here we report results from a baseline assessment in the selected districts. Health Management Information System (HMIS) data for 2015 were collected in each district, and IPTp3 coverage was 37%. Four health facilities per district were randomly selected to participate in the pilot. In 2017, a baseline household survey was conducted among recently pregnant women in the catchment areas of these health facilities.

Women were asked to recall the number of antenatal care (ANC) visits and IPTp doses they had received during their most recent pregnancy. The same information was extracted from their ANC cards. A total of 374 women were interviewed during the baseline survey.

ANC attendance was reported to be 98% for any visit, and 84% for four visits; these rates were 90% and 62% as documented on the ANC cards. Over 95% of women recalled receiving the first dose of IPTp, while over 80% of cards verified that the first dose was given.

Receipt of the third IPTp dose was 62% by recall and 52% as recorded on the ANC cards, while receipt of 4 doses was 32% by recall and 19% per the ANC cards. IPTp3 coverage was not associated with parity or educational level.

Following implementation of the revised IPTp policy, there has been a substantial improvement in IPTp coverage, though more work is needed to achieve the national 85% coverage target.

Our pilot will examine the impact that delivery of IPTp by community workers has on IPTp coverage, with endline surveys planned for 2018.

Potential Contribution of Community-Based Health Workers to Improving Prevention of Malaria in Pregnancy

Justin Tiendrebeogo, Ousmane Badolo, Mathurin Dodo, Danielle Burke, and Bill Brieger of Jhpiego have designed and are implementing a study to determine the effect of delivering Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Malaria in Pregnancy through community health workers in Burkina Faso with the support of the US President’s Malaria Initiative and the USAID Maternal and Child Survival Project. They have shared the design and start-up activities for the study at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. A summary follows:

CHW Flipchart Page

The Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso with the support of its partners initiated a study on the feasibility of increasing provision of Intermittent Preventive Malaria Treatment in pregnant women (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) by involving existing community-based health workers (CBHWs). As Burkina Faso adopted the WHO recommendations for more doses of IPTp during pregnancy, it was proposed that the challenge of achieving coverage of third, fourth and additional doses could be met using CBHWs.

The approved protocol calls for CBHWs to refer pregnant women to antenatal care (ANC) to receive their first IPTp dose. Subsequent doses at one-month intervals would be provided by trained CBHWs, who would report back to supervising midwives at the ANC clinics. Several steps were taken to gain approval and set up the intervention.

CHW Using Flipchart

First, IPTp data from the health information system was gathered. IPTp coverage based on ANC registration in the 6 intervention clinics was 69% IPTp1, 68% IPTp2, 56% IPTP3, and 1% IPTp4. Similar information was obtained from the 6 control clinic catchment areas. Situation analysis found that while CBHW curriculum stresses the importance of ANC, it does not address IPTp at community level.

In response updated training materials have been developed. The study team also collected information on village size and availability of CBHWs, especially females. Among the villages in the catchment of the 6 intervention ANC clinics, 33 were found to lack female CBHWs.

Supervisory Meeting

As a result, the team needed to recruit additional female CBHWs, as revised national recruitment guidance stressed attainment of primary school certificate over gender, meaning mainly men had been hired previously. Two institutional review boards were involved and suggested the need to address the potential rare side effects of SP and concerns that community IPTp would not detract from ANC clinic attendance.

Since district and clinic level health staff will be involved in implementing the program using the national CBHW program, lessons learned from this effort to expand the work of CBHWs in preventing malaria in pregnancy should be applicable and adaptable to the whole country.

Committing to Preventing Malaria in Pregnancy From the National to State to Local Level in Nigeria

Bright Orji recently shared an overview of the Transforming Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Optimal Pregnancy (TIPTOP) Project in Nigeria, a joint venture to protect pregnant women from malaria organized by Jhpiego with support from Unitaid, the National Malaria Elimination Program, The State Ministries of Health in Ebonyi, Niger and Ondo and the local communities.  He shares some highlights from the project launch this past week. The project will strengthening antenatal care services to reach out and involve communities in the grassroots delivery of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp).

Her Excellency Chief (Mrs.) Rachel Umahi wife Executive Governor Ebonyi State flags off TIPTOP

Among those in attendance were wife of the Ebonyi State Executive Governor and representatives from the State Ministry of Health, the State Malaria Elimination Program, the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Women Affairs, the School of Nursing and Midwifery, the School of Health Technology Ngbo, the Ohaukwu local government council and the community members.

The media documented the active participation, involvement and commitment by all stakeholders. Other partners present were the World Health Organization representing all UN Agencies in Nigeria and ISGlobal of Barcelona. Furthermore, the villages, families, and traditional rulers of the 16 communities that made up Ohaukwu Communitywelcomed the new project.

In order to emphasize an integrated approach to preventing malaria in pregnancy Ebonyi State, pregnant women given long lasting nets during the TIPTOP launch

Her Excellency Rachel Umahi, wife of the Ebonyi Governor said that, “TIPTOP project came at the right time, and I pledge to join hands to stop malaria in the state.”  She was joined by the Ohaukwu Local Government Chairman Barr Clement Oda who shared that, “Today marks a special day in the history of Ohaukwu LGA, Ebonyi State and Nigeria at large as TIPTOP project launch will put the state and her people in the global map. This TIPTOP project will receive a very good support and cooperation from my administration. We shall not relent on what or things we need to do to make this project a success in Ohaukwu LGA worthy for this project.”

The National Coordinator National Malaria Elimination Program, Dr. Bala Audu, explained that, “The choice of Ebonyi state and Ohaukwu LGA in particular is not unconnected with the low utilization of the antenatal care services and low performance in IPTp utilization when compared with other LGAs in the southeastern region. We hope the LGA and the state will use this opportunity to redeem her image in malaria in pregnancy performance in Nigeria.” He pledged his support to Jhpiego and the malaria programs in the three participating states.

Dr. Ugo Okoli, Deputy Country Director Jhpiego in Nigeria pointed out the synergies possible within the state through noting that the, “Maternal and Child Survival Project funded by USAID will collaborate with TIPTOP in Ebonyi State to ensure that ANC is strengthened, and communities mobilized to utilize services.”

Bright Orji will provide updates from time to time in these efforts to reduce the high mortality through community efforts from malaria in pregnancy in Nigeria.

Population Health: Malaria, Monkeys and Mosquitoes

On World Population Day (July 11) one often thinks of family planning. A wider view was proposed by resolution 45/216 of December 1990, of the United Nations General Assembly which encouraged observance of “World Population Day to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development.”

A relationship still exists between family planning and malaria via preventing pregnancies in malaria endemic areas where the disease leads to anemia, death, low birth weight and stillbirth. Other population issues such as migration/mobility, border movement, and conflict/displacement influence exposure of populations to malaria, NTDs and their risks. Environmental concerns such as land/forest degradation, occupational exposure, population expansion (even into areas where populations of monkeys, bats or other sources of zoonotic disease transmission live), and climate warming in areas without prior malaria transmission expose more populations to mosquitoes and malaria.

Ultimately the goal of eliminating malaria needs a population based focus. The recent WHO malaria elimination strategic guidance encourages examination of factors in defined population units that influence transmission or control.

Today public health advocates are using the term population health more. The University of Wisconsin Department of Population Health Sciences in its blog explained that “Population health is defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.” World Population Day is a good time to consider how the transmission or prevention of malaria, or even neglected tropical diseases, is distributed in our countries, and which groups and communities within that population are most vulnerable.

World Population Day has room to consider many issues related to the health of populations whether it be reproductive health, communicable diseases or chronic diseases as well as the services to address these concerns.

Rwanda Celebrates World Malaria Day 2017 – community is a major focus

Dr. Noella Umulisa, the Malaria Team Lead or the USAID Maternal and Child Survival Program in Kigali Rwanda shares with us experiences from Rwanda’s recent observance of World Malaria Day 2017.

The Malaria Day celebration took place in Huye districts in the southern Province. Why the southern province? – because among the 10 high endemic districts, 6 are the southern province. Why Huye district? – because IRS has been launched in Huye district yesterday and in another district Nyanza in Southern province.

The ceremony was attended by USAID and WHO representative, local leaders, MOH staff, partners, population of Simbi sector and the guest of honour was Dr Jeannine Condo the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center (which houses malaria activities).

A special recognition was given to community health workers (CHWs) who are playing a key role and are on the front line of fighting Malaria through sensitization of the population, testing and treating the population through community case management (iCMM and HBM) of Malaria, and now when a big number of CHWs will be involved in spraying households in their community.

The World Malaria Day celebration in Rwanda is marked by different activities for Malaria prevention conducted at community level from 24th to 29th April 2017.  Also, Malaria prevention and control messages are being disseminated using different communication tools and approaches such as radio and TV programs, community outreach activities, educating communities on proper use of bed nets.

Door to door mobilization is being conducted about the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in high malaria burden districts of Huye and Nyanza. MCSP, with support from the US President’s Malaria Initiative, has participated actively in this event by supporting Community outreaches though theatre skits in the first 10 high endemic district.

The Director General made the following statement:

In January 2016, the Government of Rwanda and partners developed a Malaria Contingency Plan in response to the increase in malaria cases. The following interventions were implemented to address malaria rise in Rwanda: A Home Based Management of fever for adults at community level was set up countywide to reduce the malaria burden and prevent severe malaria and death. From Nov 2016 up to March 2017, the country distributed more than 6 million nets in 30 districts ensuring universal coverage of the entire population.

The country has increased access to health services for all through Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI). The Government of Rwanda provides free treatment of malaria to the most vulnerable population (Ubudehe 1&2 categories) to ensure that all financial barriers are no more to hinder the health service delivery for the community. Extension of Indoor residual spraying (IRS) in districts with high malaria burden where 5 out of 8 were sprayed (Nyagatare, Kirehe, Bugesera, Gisagara and Gatsibo).

We hope that this commitment will keep Rwanda on track to control and eventually eliminate malaria.

Challenges and Recommendations in Distribution of LLINs in Urban Contexts

by Brooke Farrenkopf

With the malaria team made up of public health nurses and an infectious disease specialist in Kumasi

I participated in a study on urban distribution of long lasting insecticide treated bednets (LLINs) as part of the USAID/PMI VectorWorks Project of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs aided by a JHU Global Health Field Placement Scholarship. I conducted qualitative interviews to support a programmatic study on the challenges associated with mass distributions in urban contexts and helped develop report recommendations for developing the guidelines for future campaigns in urban areas. I am sharing my findings here.

As noted VectorWorks is funded by the US President’s Malaria Initiative and works to improve access to long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) in 12 countries in Asia and Africa. VectorWorks Ghana, through collaboration with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and partners, supports the following distribution campaigns:

  • School-based distribution, occurring every May for grades 2 and 6
  • Continuous facility-based distribution at ANC and EPI visits
  • Point mass distribution campaigns, occurring every 3 years

In Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale, a point mass distribution campaign had already occurred. The campaign in Accra occurred while I was in Ghana, and I was able to visit the distribution sites and the health facilities where a portion of the LLINs were stored. Here, I was able to see some of the logistical challenges associated with the urban context.

I was also able to see the solutions put in place by the local malaria teams. One solution to improve program delivery was the development of a coupon coding system. As each community member attended the distribution site to receive a LLIN, Ghana Health Service (GHS) staff had to match their registration coupon with the coded coupon in the book. The coding system organized the coupons and identified members who had not attended distribution.

Mass distribution campaigns are the most effective method to rapidly increase long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) coverage.  Mass distribution in urban areas with characteristically large and heterogeneous populations of high population density comes with higher costs and difficult logistics. Many inhabitants are not indigenous to the area and are of varied religious, occupational, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Urban areas commonly have large mobile working class populations that are difficult to access. These characteristics are unique to urban areas and introduces the need for improved guidelines in urban areas.

VectorWorks Ghana Team

To date, the National malaria Control Program (NMCP) guidelines for point mass distribution in Ghana have made no distinction between urban and rural areas and have therefore not addressed these differences. This study intended to provide information to refine these guidelines.

Most interviews were conducted in hospitals and health facilities where the members of the malaria teams were located. The interviews were conducted in-person in the four largest metropolitan areas in Ghana: Kumasi, Greater Accra, Takoradi, and Tamale. I helped develop and follow a question guide that covered each phase of the distribution focusing on the challenges, solutions, and recommendations associated with each phase of distribution.

Most common challenges with implementation in urban communities:

  • Reaching community members during registration
  • Completing registration within the period of days provided and the volunteers allocated, because the population was too dense to reach all of the households and many community members were not at home during registration
  • Beneficiary dissatisfaction with universal health coverage definition of sufficient LLIN coverage {one net per two people in each household}

Most common recommendations for future distributions:

  • Greater inclusion of sub-metro teams in development of the micro plan
  • Increase the resources to recruit and remunerate more volunteers and supervisors to enable more distribution sites, help control crowds, and allow fewer days for each phase
  • Intensify social mobilization and allow sub-metros to help develop this plan to utilize local resources, especially to improve understanding of universal health coverage definition of one net per two people and to inform about logistics
  • Increase the number of registration days
  • Conduct a utilization study to understand coverage of LLIN use and barriers to  consistent use.

I was able to speak with public health nurses, malaria experts, and district health directors, and hear their insight on how to improve future campaigns. My favorite anecdotes included examples of how teams developed innovative solutions to improve campaign efficiency or strategically access hard to reach populations.

The observations and recommendations by the respondents themselves should guide future LLIN campaigns in urban settings in Ghana.

References

  • VectorWorks (2017) Johns Hopkins center for Communication Programs. http://ccp.jhu.edu/projects/malaria-vector-control/
  • de Beyl CZ, Koenker H, Acosta A, Onyefunafoa EO, Adegbe E, McCartney-Melstad A, Killian A (2016) Multi-country comparison of delivery strategues for mass campaigns to achieve universal coverage with insecticide-treated nets: what works best? Malaria Journal, 15(1): 1.
  • Stakeholder Review of Experiences in urban Long-Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) campaign distributions (2012). Malaria Consortium Africa.