Success Stories

Category: Uncategorised Published: Monday, 04 July 2016 Written by Super User

A. Behavioral change on use of Nets

CHALLENGE: The health institution’s report in Dera Woreda showed a record number of malaria cases in the Woreda located in the greater South Gondar Zone of Amhara Region. These high numbers of malaria cases is due to the fact that most community members did not use bed nets regularly to prevent mosquito bites while asleep. In many instances, the community improperly used bed nets for unintended purposes.

INITIATIVE: To prevent and control malaria at Mierafemaraim Kebele in Dera Woreda, a social behavioral change communication project is under implementation. The school created awareness in all its students on key malaria action messages using peer education and other in-school strategic behavioral change communications.

 To this effect, 5th through 8th grade students, school teachers, religious leaders and other local stakeholders became agents of change and began disseminating key malaria action messages to the community in the Woreda to lessen the devastating effects of malaria.

The school project focal person and the school administrator at Mirafemaraim primary school also designed a strategy to increase the utilization of bed nets by the community. They designed a strategy of giving either green, yellow or red cards as certificates and coloring the student’s outline to show the status of bed net usage by both the student and the student’s family. For those students whose families use bed nets properly and regularly, the green certificate is given and their nails are colored green. The yellow color is used for students whose families use bed nets only occasionally. Red is used for students whose families do not use bed nets at all. The homes are also marked by the Kebele task force members or peer educators during home-to-home visits.

RESULTS: Tilahun Worku, a teacher and the project’s focal person at the school witnessed that, "Because of the locally innovative strategy, all the families of the students in the Kebele are using bed nets regularly while sleeping." He added, "Misuse of the nets by the community and malaria cases in the kebele has significantly reduced because of the intervention."

 Also, Sayish Molla Admasu, a 55 year old woman in the community said, "I have never used bed nets in my 55 years until this project. One day, students from the school nearby told me the importance of bed nets so that I will be free from malaria. Ever since that day, I always use a bed net. Because of this, my family members and I have not faced sickness due to malaria." “Besides,” said the woman, "My gate has been colored green by the task force, consequently, I am proud that my family and I are always using bed nets."

 

B. Behavioral change on disease administration

CHALLENGE: A high number of malaria cases were reported in Dera Woreda of South Gondar Zone of the Amhara national regional state of Ethiopia. Malaria has been a serious health problem to the community. There was less awareness of community members about giving priority for pregnant women and under five children when bed nets are scarce at homes. The reported number of malaria cases confirmed by the laboratory diagnosis two years ago was 1,429 children under the age of five years and 41 pregnant women.

INITIATIVE: A social behavioral change communication project on malaria has begun targeting 25 Kebeles, using students in the 25 schools and religious leaders in the 25 religious institutions as agents of change, to mitigate the problem of malaria in Dera Woreda.

At Wonchet Kebele of Dera Woreda, health education with key malaria action messages has been given to all of the students using peer education and other in-school strategic behavioral change communications strategies. Peer educators and peer participants in Mutansa Primary School designed their own strategy to increase malaria awareness of the school and the surrounding community. Songs on key malaria action messages have been prepared by the students of the Anti-Malaria Club. These songs have been presented to the school and nearby community during a flag ceremony and different events conducted at school and Kebele level. The students, along with the health extension workers and school teachers, are providing house-to-house education on key malaria action messages to the community. If a household with no bed net is identified, the students report to the health extension worker who then facilitates access to a bed net.

RESULTS: As a result, the number of malaria case of under five year old children and of pregnant women was significantly reduced from the previous year. After one year, the report from the health office showed that only 341 children under five years old and only 6 pregnant women caught malaria, a 76% and 85% decrease, respectively.

All the students in the school and the community members in the Kebele are using health services to prevent and control malaria properly. "No single student in the school or households are sleeping without bed nets," said one of the community members named Mrs. Addis Eskeziaw. She added, “Before the project, the community was misusing bed nets and priority for pregnant women and children under five was not given. But now,” she continued, "thanks to our students, we are using bed nets regularly, going to the health facility with 24 hours of fever, taking medicine properly, conducting environmental management activities and giving priority to pregnant women or under five children to sleep under bed net." She also said, "I haven’t heard of anyone suffering from malaria in the Kebele recently."

 

C. Behavioral change in the religious institutions

CHALLENGE: Zara-Michael is a religious institution located in Dera Woreda, South Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, struggled to keep its 300 students from falling ill with malaria. The reported numbers of malaria cases were numerous. As the church is situated in a swampy area, the mosquitoes have made the area their breeding ground. More over that, many students brought malaria with them from their home towns. Bed nets were unheard at Zara-Michael and unthinkable to use in their limited space and limited prevention knowledge. As a result, the majority of the 300 religious students were suffering from malaria.

INITIATIVE: To address the issue, religious leaders began disseminating key malaria action messages to religious students and the nearby community during Sunday and other holiday church services. As part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) and Health, Development & Anti Malaria Association (HDAMA) Malaria Prevention and Control Social Behavioral Change Communication project, religious institution leaders were trained to be messengers of key malaria action messages. The religious leaders are able to use their influence to teach key malaria prevention steps to their community and to their students on a weekly basis along with the students’ regular education.

RESULTS: As the students became more aware of malaria prevention steps, they actively requested bed nets from the church leaders. In cooperation with the area’s health institution, 300 bed nets were secured for the students. Currently, all 300 students residing in the church school are using bed nets every night. In addition, environmental management activities such as disturbing mosquito breeding sites, is being done by the students on a weekly basis in the church compound and surroundings. As a consequence, malaria cases among the students and the community are now nonexistent.

Abrham Nigussie, a 20 year old student from Arsi Region, is attending his kine (advanced level of religious education) education. He says, "I used to constantly be sick with malaria. After our religious teacher told us the steps for prevention, I decided to use a bed net every night to stop getting mosquito bites. Ever since I started, I haven’t been attacked by anopheles mosquito." Abrham continued, "Now all my friends who live at home hang their nets over their beds, too.” As a result, "No one is suffering from morbidity due to malaria." To ensure that this continues, Abrham is one of the students who drain, clean and disturb mosquito breeding sites in the area on a weekly basis.

 

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