Community Control of Malaria
While the risk of malaria exists throughout Angola, some of the highest rates are found in the south-east and the north east of the country (President’s Malaria Initiative, Angola, Malaria Operational Plan FY 2018). Zaire, in the northwest, has benefited from Community Control of Malaria projects almost continuously since 2008, when ADPP (among others) began managing USAID/PMI supported programs, and reported only 18% malaria transmission in the Demographic and Health Survey+ of 2015-2016 compared with 31% in neighbouring Uige. Between 2008 and 2011, 231 Malaria Control Teachers from 200 schools in Zaire received trained about the disease. Under their supervision, 10,500 schoolchildren from these 200 schools reached 100,000 people with information on malaria prevention, and 30,000 LLITNs were distributed. Malaria treatment in pregnancy was one of the key messages delivered by the project.
Since 2013, ADPP has received support from the Exxon Mobil Foundation to continue the community control model, fighting against not only malaria but also HIV and TB. In 2016, the scope of the project was broadened to include communities in Uige, while in Zaire the focus moved to the school component as part of a long-term strategy to hand over disease control and prevention to the community. Further expansion in 2018 meant 1,000 families and 10 schools in Calandula, Malanje Province, would also benefit from project activities.
Since April 2018, the project has achieved 26,762 pupil attendances at weekly malaria lessons. 2,726 pupils in Malaria Control Patrols reached 2,800 families with health messages and 125 community events and campaigns around the schools reached many more people. The 70 Community Health Agents in Uige and Malanje visited 2,366 households, resulting in 2,291 families drawing up plans for malaria prevention.
Tried and tested methods are producing these results and, once the project closes, the program of community control will be sustainable thanks to the will and collaboration of all parts, from the Ministry of Health to school teachers and community volunteers.
Tomas Nungamena, headmaster at Masseke Primary School in Maquela do Zombo is one of the many people supporting the program. He explained that his teachers used to be reluctant to act with regard to malaria and could not recognise malaria signs and symptoms among the pupils. All this changed after they attended training sessions about the disease - and about HIV/TB. With the teachers taking responsibility for giving malaria lessons, organizing pupils in Malaria Control Patrols and reacting immediately to possible signs of malaria, absenteeism at the school went down because fewer pupils were falling ill.