This is an update from a USAID funded malaria prevention program in Zimbabwe.
With the nearest clinic 7.5 kilometers away, the 435 households of the Zimbabwean farming community of Rujeko rely on village health workers (VHWs) for their health needs. One November night, a frantic mother showed up at VHW Mwoyounotsva Ndhlovu’s door, holding a 19-month-old baby. The boy was listless, feverish, and vomiting. Instantly, Ms. Ndhlovu recognized the signs of severe malaria, which can be deadly for children under 6.
Ms. Ndhlovu performed a rapid diagnostic test, which confirmed that the child had malaria. Pulling on latex gloves, she gave the boy 100 milligrams of rectal artesunate, a temporary treatment used in rural areas until a child can be taken to a clinic. The mother then took her son and a referral from Ms. Ndhlovu to the clinic for comprehensive care. The next day at the clinic, the child’s condition had improved and, after a few days, he was sent home to complete the course of medicine.
Ms. Ndhlovu was able to administer the life-saving artesunate because of training provided by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child Care, supported by the USAID-funded Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (link is external) and the President’s Malaria Initiative.
With this training and support, VHWs can screen, diagnose and treat malaria at the community level. Malaria community case management helps ensure that communities in Zimbabwe have access to effective and life-saving malaria treatment.