Month May 2017

Month May 2017

Akros entries selected in photo competitions

`Akros Media May 31, 2017

Over the past few months, two photos by Akros Communications Lead Andy Prinsen have been selected as winner and honorable mention in their respective photography competitions. The first was the “Picturing inclusive CLTS photo competition” sponsored by the CLTS Knowledge Hub, and Prinsen’s photo titled “School Sanitation: Equal and Proud” was selected as one of three winners.

Female students from Maunga School in Zambia’s Southern Province stand in front of one of the school’s new improved latrines. When the girls were menstruating, they would often stay home for lack of sanitation facilities at school. Now, with funds from UNICEF, the girls’ latrines are built with a privacy enclosure and a specially built water-channeling floor so they can wash properly before returning to class. Through sanitation tracking done by Akros, the school has seen a significant decrease in the young women missing school for days at a time.

The CLTS Knowledge Hub is a collection of news and information on the Community-Led Total Sanitation Movement and is a great resource for professionals working in the field or those interested in learning about CLTS.

Another of Prinsen’s photos was selected as the honorable mention for the category of mHealth and Communications Technology in the 12th annual Photoshare contest.

An Akros surveillance officer sits with Community Champions from Nyimba, Zambia, to map the villages they serve. In this innovative mapping process, the surveillance officer uses Google Earth’s satellite imagery to navigate these community members’ villages “like a bird in the sky.” Most community champions have never seen satellite imagery before, but they know their communities so well that the mapping process works amazingly well. This is the first time decision makers at the national level will have detailed location data on these villages, allowing them to make more informed decisions and reach villages in times of emergency.

Photoshare is a service of the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) project, based at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (CCP). Photographers submit images to Photoshare for free, public use by nonprofits and for educational purposes. Photoshare is a leading source for public health and development communication, focused on demonstrating the value and impact of photography in global health efforts to improve health and save lives.

The Elimination 8 Regional Surveillance Database (ERSD)

`Annie Martin May 8, 2017
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To achieve malaria elimination, an understanding of neighboring country malaria situations is critical for the prevention of introduction of parasites. Malaria parasites don’t stop at country borders, so effective elimination strategies shouldn’t either. That is why the Elimination 8 (E8), in its strategy on cross-border collaboration, identified Akros to support the development of the E8 Regional Surveillance Database System (ERSD) for the eight member states constituting the E8: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This innovative approach is a means to level the playing field and conduct malaria surveillance at a regional scale.

Figure 1. Cross-border incidence* in districts in Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe: Having access to several countries in one database allows these kinds of visualizations, which may highlight transmission patterns that occur between countries, which in turn supports decisions to invest in control methods in border areas.
*All data shown is used purely for illustrative purposes and do not reflect current or historic epidemiological status of countries. Current data can be accessed in the database itself by those granted authority.

Malaria is hardly an emerging disease, and though the interventions of preventing, treating, and monitoring malaria are somewhat standardized, each country has slight permutations of their approach to doing so. Indicators may differ slightly, investment in one prevention method versus another likely differs too, and policies surrounding implementation certainly are not identical.
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