Mambova Teams Up Against Malaria
Step D, also known as community surveillance, was introduced to Kazungula District in 2012 as a malaria elimination intervention after it experienced a significant decline in the incidence of malaria. The malaria incidence reduced from 150 per 1,000 in 2007 to 4 per 1,000 in 2011. Mambova is a community in Kazungula District with an approximate population of 4,715 yet only has one nearby health center. Headed by a nurse, Mambova Rural Health Center is charged with the responsibility of providing quality health care to this community.
“I work alone as a health worker with two other helpers, a cleaner and a watchman,” said Betty Masedza, Mambova Rural Health Center nurse in charge. “This is a great challenge on my part but the presence of community health workers (CHWs) has been of great assistance to my work,” she said.
As a result of this challenge, community members have given themselves up as volunteers, sacrificing their time and energy to ensure Mambova is healthy. CHWs are trained and posted within their communities where they are responsible for providing malaria management at their health posts as well as following up on malaria cases within the community to find and treat any additional malaria infections. This has lessened the workload that the nurse at Mambova Rural Health Center must do every day.
“I have been working as a CHW for 11years now and I continue to be motivated by the desire to reduce deaths and diseases in my community,” said Kapalu Nyamozhi, a CHW for area. “I work under a tree at Nampande Community School from morning to 14hrs,” he said.
“I have been working as a CHW since 2004 and I believe Step D can be made more effective by putting up measures that can constantly look into challenges such as our bicycles,” said CHW Pentrine Musweu. “My bicycle stopped working after one year of using it and I have to walk on foot for 2 hours to get to some places since I could not find spare parts for the bicycle,” she added.
“Community health workers need to receive training on how to manage more diseases other than just malaria in order to provide greater service to their community and reduce the burden of clients at the rural health facility,” said Tokozile Ngwenya-Kangombe, Akros Surveillance Officer for the area.
The community level surveillance approach has been implemented by the Government of the Republic of Zambia in 11 districts in Central, Southern and Western Provinces. It uses the reactive case detection protocol which allows health facilities and health posts upon receiving a malaria-infected patient, to alert CHWs near the household of the patient. CHWs then screen the patient’s household for malaria and nine other housesholds within a 140 meter radius from the patient’s house, treating all the positive cases detected accordingly.
About Maswabi Precious Matantilo
Precious Matantilo is an Advocacy and Communications Officer for Akros and is a Global Health Corps fellow for 2014/2015. Before joining Akros, Precious worked for the Commonwealth Youth Programme as programmes assistant. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies from the Zambian Open University.