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 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.
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.
By 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.