Community Health Agent Malaria Programs
From 2006, ADPP has been recruiting, training and organizing local community members to promote preventative health care and uptake of existing health services via repeat house to house visits. ADPP is currently developing the Community Health Agents program in alignment with the Angola’s emerging policy for Community & Health Development Agents (ADECOS).
Malaria prevention and treatment campaigns have formed part of Community Health projects since their inception in 2006. Community Health Agents provide community members with information and support for behaviour change with respect to malaria. They develop the capacity to detect signs and symptoms of the disease, and refer potential sufferers to local health services for testing and treatment. They also undertake follow up of referrals to ensure patients complete the course of treatment and that no further cases go undetected in the household or immediate community.
Prevention being key, the CHAs check that households are using mosquito nets and are using them correctly, often tackling myths about the nets being dangerous because of the insecticide they contain, or about them making it difficult to sleep.
In addition to being responsible for around 100 families, who they visit at regular intervals, other tasks include giving lessons about malaria for pregnant women at antenatal clinics. In Maquela do Zombe, Community Health Agents will soon be training to make home-based malaria tests, which will greatly speed up the process and increase the number of people accessing diagnosis. Distance to the nearest health centre has hitherto been a limiting factor.