Posts or Comments 21 June 2021

Children &Schools Bill Brieger | 11 May 2021 10:25 am

Expanding “Malaria Smart Schools” in Uganda will help end malaria

We occasionally share global health posts from the Blog, “Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Issues in PHC and Global Health“, a site that provides students from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health a chance to learn about and create advocacy material. Below is a posting from May 10, 2021 by Sally Farrington Thompson.

Inside the first grade class of a Malaria Smart School

Uganda suffers from one of the highest burdens of malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the world. Many Ugandans are familiar with bed nets and many have visited health clinics for malaria treatment. But still, malaria affects a high percentage of the country’s population.

In 2019, I traveled to outside of Kampala, Uganda to visit a malaria education and prevention program run by the National Malaria Controlle Program within the Ugandan Ministry of Health and USAID’S President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). The program is referred to a Malaria Smart School where education about malaria is incorporated into the curriculum of each grade.

A “malaria corner” in a Malaria Smart School classroom

Each classroom has what is called a “malaria corner” where students’ projects on the anatomy of mosquitos, malaria parasite life cycle, the spread of malaria, and artistic expressions about malaria are featured.

The Malaria Smart School also incorporates education on malaria into song, dance, and art. In this way, students are learning more about how malaria is spread than any generation before them, which is also an important factor considering their population is so large! Pictured below is a poem written by the malaria smart school students. The poem was recited along with dance and acting.

The Ugandan Ministry of Health and PMI have been pleased with the Malaria Smart School program. It was evident during my visit that the students have gained a comprehensive knowledge of malaria and a knowledge they share and are passing onto their families and people they live with. In fact, one of the primary goals of this program was to break behavior cycles in the community regarding malaria through the students’ learning. The result of this program is that children are able to teach older generations proper preventative strategies about malaria, treatment options, and even basic scientific epidemiology of malaria.

This is already disrupting behaviors, leading older generations to seek proper care and follow proper mitigation efforts to combat malaria. If these programs were to expand to other regions in Uganda, within even a generation, there would be a significant decline in malaria cases because of the knowledge learned and passed on by these children. The Malaria Smart School program is one many countries should model in their national malaria control programs, and with outside support from partnering organizations like PMI, this model could really impact the global burden of malaria.

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Comment