Malaria, the new polio?
Last year the government provided thousands of mosquito nets to families in our district. We are very happy with that, but how is the situation in the schools?
We were shocked when we tested P7-students and teachers in a rural governmental Primary School in Bukedea District. It turned out that almost 70% of students and teachers had Malaria. But can this be a surprise? Students sleep in school in classrooms, that are not mosquito proof, without a mosquito net. They attend their classes in the evening, in classrooms that give easy access to mosquitos. Schools are not to blame, they do not have the means to change this situation.
Now we were meeting a dilemma. It would be useless to only provide nets and take other protective measures, because that would not help all these students that already had malaria. On the other hand, it would also not help only to free all students from malaria, because they would be quickly infected again. It was clear we had to do both.
So we started to work from this perspective. We provided the infected students and teachers with Coartem and when we checked them again after 2 weeks, they were all free of malaria. We shut the classrooms that are used in the evening, and the dormitories as good as possible. After 3 months, when they came back from holiday, we tested the students again, and less than 20% was again infected. Of course we treated these students again.
One reason that we think this approach can be successful, is that in P7students are in the evenings only in each other’s company and the company of their teachers. If you can keep teachers and students free of malaria, they cannot infect each other.
Of course we informed the students thoroughly about malaria and we repeat this in the presence of their parents, before they go home again.
Our plan is to support all 100 governmental schools and all students and teachers in P7 in the coming year. By doing this we think we can make a great contribution to getting rid of malaria in Bukedea District. Next to that we are sure that we can give thousands of young people a chance for a better life.
In the project plan that we have developed, we found a way to involve all our members actively. We are sure that this will have a very positive influence on the further development of our club.
In order to accomplish this, we already applied for a grant from Rotary Malaria Partners. We are very happy that they dicided to donate us 1000$ for this project.
Of course any other support from any other party is alway very welcome.
Probably more than 50% of the population has a chronic malaria. That makes them very vulnerable and source of infection for others. Protecting measures, testing and proper medication can decrease these numbers.
|Action until now: |
The government has spread thousands of nets to support the population. This does not help people that are already infected. In 50 primary schools we have tried out a combination of:
-making rooms, that are used in evening and night, mosquito-proof.
-testing and treating young people in P7 that stay in the school in evening and night
-informing parents and students This proved to reduce the infection with about 70%
Taking these measures in all 100 governmental schools in Bukedea District. A substantial improvement, that has a positive effect on the functioning of students , as well on the shorter as longer term. Improvement of knowledge and consciousness in the communities about (dealing with) malaria.
|Expected results: |
At least an average 50% decrease of the numbers of (chronic) malaria for these students
|Current status of the project: |
All the rooms used in evening and night are almost mosquito proof. A program of informing all parents and students of P7 is being started up. A program of testing and if necessary treating all students p7 is being started up.
|Effect of the project until now: |
A rising realisation of the seriousness of the problem and the necessity of action. This project is subsidized by Rotary Malaria Partners for 50%