Emmanuel Fiagbey, VOICES representative in Ghana, reports on community events that promote malaria control in Ghana.
Community events popularly referred to as community education durbars have become a powerful strategy for promoting adoption of appropriate strategies for fighting malaria in Ghana. District Malaria Advocacy Teams developed with the help of the Ghana Voices for Malaria-free Future project are the driving force behind the use of this strategy. In the Keta District of the Volta Region and the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region health workers now work with community health promoters and community leaders to organize these malaria education events. During these events community members are empowered with information to adopt the right approaches in preventing and treating malaria. These include:
- Early reporting of fever conditions at the nearest health facility
- Acceptance and use of the new antimalaria medication â€“ Artesunate Amodiaquine combination for the treatment of malaria
- Quick transfer of referred cases of severe malaria to the nearest hospitals
- Attendance of antenatal clinic by pregnant women and their accessing and completing IPT
Acceptance and Use of Insecticide Treated Nets
Prevention by always sleeping in ITNs is highly promoted through the community events where community health workers demonstrate the process of hanging the nets. They also
encourage satisfied users to present testimonies of how ITN use has contributed to reduction in malaria incidences in their households to other community members.
Improving IPT through Community Mothers Support Groups
In the Asuogyaman District, the District Malaria Advocacy Team is supporting the development of Mothers Support Groups to encourage pregnant women access and complete IPT in order to protect their unborn babies and themselves.
The Mothers Support Group program goes beyond IPT promotion only and provides opportunities to mothers with babies to share ideas on managing other childhood illnesses apart from malaria. Improving the health of children under five and their mothers through better nutrition and feeding practices is also promoted through this program which is facilitated by the Community Health Nurses.
Anecdotally these community programs are yielding great benefits to the mothers in maintaining the health of their children and themselves. â€œThe group is a wonderful source of support. For the past one year none of my group members reported of malaria in their familiesâ€ said a Community Health Nurse, Apegusu, Asuogyaman District.