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Malaria Partners Zambia (MPZ) has been diligently working towards malaria eradication during the first quarter of 2024. Malaria Partners Zambia projects remains committed to acknowledging excellence and dedication within the community health workforce through various initiatives, including the annual recognition of the best-performing Community Health Workers (CHWs). This tradition aims to celebrate the remarkable contributions of CHWs in supported districts, reinforcing their commitment to malaria control efforts.

Recognition of Best Performing CHWs

The Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia project continued its tradition of giving awards to the best Community Health Workers (CHWs) each year. This year, we were privileged to have the DG present the awards to the deserving CHWs, to recognize and celebrate their hard work in districts where we help. The event honored these CHWs for their tireless efforts in getting rid of malaria in Zambia. This not only says well done to them but also encourages others in the health field to work hard too. It shows Rotary’s promise to help and encourage frontline workers in the fight against malaria, showing their dedication is important for making Zambia free of malaria.

  1. Recognition of Excellence: Best-performing male and female CHWs from every health facility were identified and rewarded.
  2. District Governor’s Personal Appreciation: The District Governor for District 9210 personally commended CHWs on behalf of Rotary, emphasizing the vital role they play in malaria control efforts.
  3. Award Ceremony and Incentives: Recognized CHWs received grocery hampers as tokens of appreciation, reinforcing their dedication.
  4. The Presence of Distinguished Guests highlighted significant partnerships between Rotary and the community.

 

District Governor’s Visit

District Governor (DG) Chipara of District 9210 traveled from Zimbabwe to Zambia to commend and motivate Community Health Workers (CHWs) on behalf of Rotary, emphasizing Rotary’s support for malaria control. Chipara engaged key stakeholders, including potential committee members for a Rotary Healthy Communities Challenge grant to expand malaria control efforts to Nigeria, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Strategic meetings with Malaria Partners Zambia, World Vision Zambia, PATH MACEPA, and government entities fostered collaboration. DG Chipara also met with prospective Rotary clubs in Zambia to discuss community development and collective action against malaria. His visit strengthened partnerships and laid groundwork for collaborative efforts across borders to achieve a malaria-free future. The presence of Rotarian Rafael Kauseni representing the Rotary Club of Chingola Metro demonstrated the strong partnership between Rotary and the Community.

 

Retraining of CHWs Phase I and IA

 Training initiatives included conducting mop-up and refresher sessions for Masaiti and Mpongwe Districts as part of Phase 1 activities. Additionally, a retraining program was organized for 301 Community Health Workers (CHWs) who had last undergone training in 2019, identifying 87 participants as inactive.

Dr. Munalula, the Provincial Health Director (PHD), stressed the significance of district officials’ support for the Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) program by ensuring sufficient commodities. During the training sessions, which were supervised by representatives from NMEC, master trainers, Malaria Partners Zambia/Rotary, Chris Lungu from PATH/MACEPA, and the district team, participants were encouraged to share their experiences and issues encountered since their initial training. This provided valuable insights for addressing ongoing challenges.

Martha Lungu, the Executive Director of MPZ, expressed gratitude to the participants for their conduct during the three-day training. She urged facility supervisors to provide CHWs with necessary commodities and technical support to ensure the program’s smooth operation during the closing remarks of the training.

 

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<p>Group photo at the launch of the Child to Family (C2F) school program by Malaria Partners Uganda at Malwa UMEA Primary School, featuring members of the Rotaract Club of Kampala North, local leaders, community members, and students holding posters of the proposed multipurpose hall.

Data Management Activities

Quarterly Review Meetings for Health Facility Staff and CHWs to Review Appropriate Metrics In our commitment to ensuring effective implementation and monitoring of health facility review meetings within the districts supported by the Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia (PMFZ) project, we conducted comprehensive monitoring visits to a representative sample of facilities.

Out of the 69 health facilities across four districts, 20 were sampled for evaluation during the quarter under review.

The findings from these visits are summarized below:

1.1 Conduct of Review Meetings
All sampled health facilities have been conducting the quarterly review meetings as per project guidelines. However, inconsistencies in scheduling were observed, attributed to challenges such as funds availability and competing national activities.

1.2 Project Awareness and Advocacy
The monitoring visits provided an opportunity for the project team to reinforce awareness regarding the impending closure of the project to both government stakeholders at subnational levels and community volunteers.

1.3 Commodity Stock-outs and Mitigation
Instances of commodity stock-outs were reported in Kanchibiya and Lavushimanda districts. PMFZ provided support to Kanchibiya by sourcing Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) from Shiwang’andu to mitigate shortages. A formal invitation has been extended to Lavushimanda district to request similar support in writing.

2.1 CHW Attrition:
No cases of CHW attrition were reported during the quarter, indicating a stable workforce within the supported facilities.

2.2 CHW Bicycle Maintenance:
Community Health Workers (CHWs) reported deterioration of their bicycles and expressed the need for support with repairs. While this falls outside the project scope, the project team advised exploring alternative funding sources and community initiatives for repairs. The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was proposed as a potential funding source.

2.3 Thermometer Donation:
Project team donated two thermometers to each health facility, including mini hospitals, across the four supported districts. Originally intended for CHWs, these thermometers were repurposed due to a government policy shift disallowing the allocation of thermometers to community-based volunteers.

The monitoring visits provided valuable insights into the implementation of quarterly health facility review meetings within the PMFZ project area.

While commendable efforts have been made in conducting these meetings, challenges such as inconsistent scheduling and commodity stock-outs persist. The project continues to advocate for sustainable solutions and support mechanisms to address these challenges effectively.

Phase 2  – Project 3.1 Distribution of Calendars
A total of one hundred wall calendars were printed and subsequently distributed to the three District offices participating in Phase 2 of the Malaria Project, namely Kalulushi, Luanshya, and Mufulira Districts. Each District received an allocation of one hundred calendars, which were then distributed among the District Health Offices (DHOs) and Rotarians.

It was emphasized that DHOs allocate a minimum of two calendars to each Health Facility under their jurisdiction. This distribution process was carried out in January.

3.2 Radio Programs – Phase II
Following a series of six similar programs conducted last year, there has been a request from the community to organize more call-in programs alike.

These programs offer a platform to engage with the community on issues such as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, with representation from Rotary, the District Health Office (DHO), and Community Health Workers (CHWs) in each session. Dr. Jacob Ng’ambi, the District Health Director (DHD) from Luanshya, participated in one of the programs, while Donald Mukumbuta, a Program Officer from the National Malaria Elimination Centre (NMEC), featured in another program held in Luanshya.

The radio call-in programs commenced in Kalulushi, Luanshya, and Mufulira Districts in March and will continue into April. These programs also offer opportunities to discuss Rotary’s role in community development and to explore avenues for collective action in malaria prevention.

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<p>Group photo at the launch of the Child to Family (C2F) school program by Malaria Partners Uganda at Malwa UMEA Primary School, featuring members of the Rotaract Club of Kampala North, local leaders, community members, and students holding posters of the proposed multipurpose hall.

Community Engagement and Advocacy

MPZ focused on raising project awareness through community engagement activities, including the distribution of calendars and radio call-in programs. These initiatives aimed to reinforce malaria prevention and advocacy.

 

A workshop was held in Lusaka to plan a project called the Rotary Healthy Communities Challenge (RHCC). It brought together different groups like World Vision and PATH to design the project and estimate its budget. The workshop aimed to create a plan and budget for RHCC, with input from various stakeholders including the government. They discussed goals, activities, and outcomes for the project. Government representatives were involved to make sure the project aligns with national health priorities.

The workshop was a big step towards launching RHCC and making a positive impact on community health. Now, they’re committed to putting the workshop’s ideas into action to help communities become healthier. Additionally, Malaria Partners Zambia developed a new policy for engaging volunteers, which is being reviewed.

Challenges and Future Plans

MPZ faced challenges like inconsistent scheduling of meetings and commodity stock-outs. However, the organization remains committed to overcoming these obstacles and continues to plan for future activities, including the Rotary Healthy Communities Challenge.

The absence of industry-standard collaborative systems and platforms, such as payroll systems, task management platforms, and HR tools, hampers efficient communication and task management, leading to decreased overall productivity. It is essential to prioritize the implementation of these systems to bring our practices in line with industry standards, optimize resource allocation, and improve workforce efficiency in our malaria elimination efforts. Several health facilities faced commodity stockouts during the reporting period, impacting their ability to serve their communities effectively. Limited resources hindered our ability to engage external consultants to develop industrystandard policy documents for Malaria Partners Zambia. The lack of standard collaborative systems and RDTs is proving to be detrimental, particularly for recently trained CHWs. Their inability to practice for months, especially for replacement CHWs, is concerning.

 In summary, our efforts over the past three months demonstrate our steadfast commitment to fighting malaria and enhancing community health in Muchinga province. Through strategic initiatives like Quarterly Review Meetings, honoring exceptional Community Health Workers, and designing transformative projects such as the Rotary Healthy Communities Challenge, we have achieved notable progress towards our objectives.

However, challenges like irregular scheduling of health facility meetings and the absence of standardized collaborative systems highlight areas needing improvement. Addressing these issues is crucial for boosting operational efficiency and maximizing the impact of our interventions.

Looking ahead, we remain resolute in our commitment to forging partnerships, fostering innovation, and prioritizing evidence-based approaches to accelerate our journey towards a malaria-free Zambia. With continued collaboration and concerted efforts, we are confident in our ability to overcome obstacles and realize our collective vision of healthier, more resilient communities.

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