Partners For A Malaria Free Zambia 2021 Progress Review
By Eric Liswaniso, Program Manager, Malaria Partners Zambia
It is December and in a matter of days 2021 will be gone. As we reflect on our wins and challenges for the year ending, we are very proud of what we have achieved this year despite the global challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through hard-work, partnership, and spurred on by a shared commitment to eliminate malaria in Zambia, and with support from Zambian and international Rotarians and Rotaractors; this year we managed to train 1,308 Community Health Workers (CHWs) in 10 districts of Muchinga and Central provinces in the integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) program, exceeding our year 1 target of 1,300. The trained CHWs have also been equipped with a starter pack, which includes medical supplies and a bicycle.
Furthermore, we trained Health facility staff in iCCM and new Neighborhood Health Committee (NHC) guidelines to facilitate effective supervision of the deployed CHWs and to strengthen community level health systems through the NHCs. This approach not only strengthens health systems at community level but also ensures the sustainability of the intervention. That is why we go beyond the facility to also orient community leaders in malaria interventions and this year we have oriented 200 community influencers such as faith, civic, and traditional leaders.
From Chibombo to Luano in the remotest parts of Central province, to Kanchibiya and Shiwang’andu in rural Muchinga province where malaria is rampant, we have deployed and equipped CHWs who are providing primary healthcare to nearly 700, 000 Zambians in communities that hitherto had little to no access to basic healthcare.
All this and so much more has been made possible through the strength of partnerships. It’s in our name – Malaria Partners International is anchored on partnerships – working with others to achieve the shared goal of malaria elimination with Rotarians leading from the front.
In my 4 years of Rotary, I have been inspired by and seen first-hand how Rotarians’ love community service. More so this year on this project. For instance, last month I was honored to represent the Malaria Partners Zambia board co-chairperson in presenting a new wheelchair to a crippled man she and 2 Rotaract volunteers on the project identified during an iCCM field activity in Mkushi. Moved with compassion for this man without a family and limited mobility, Modestine Kaoma mobilized personal resources to acquire a wheelchair for this man. This is just one example of the true spirit of Rotary in going beyond the call of duty to alleviate suffering wherever we see it.
Finally, our advocacy efforts this year have seen us make several virtual presentations to various Rotary clubs in Zambia and abroad, participate in a Rotary Zone Institute in Cameroun, and the D9210 Projects Fair in Zambia, while our work in Central and Muchinga province has created opportunities for new Rotary clubs to be charted in some districts. Our work has also been widely covered in the press both locally and internationally.
So, in a matter of days, calendar dates shall change but nothing changes about malaria. It remains our number 1 public health concern and the leading cause of death in children under 5 and pregnant women. 2022, we continue the fight. We continue implementing a proven intervention in malaria elimination until malaria, like polio, is history.
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