Sierra Leone Work Reaches 47,000 Households
31 Jan 2012
Since September 2011, I have been part of a team, in Sierra Leone that is engaging Christian and Muslim faith leaders to disseminate malaria prevention messages through sermons, community activities and house hold visits.
Prior to the project, the National Malaria Control Programme had conducted a national campaign to distribute insecticide treated bed nets but some families were either not using the nets to sleep under but were using the nets for fishing, washing and making wedding gowns, etc.
I am now back in Sierra Leone continuing with the Faith Acts projects on health to protect lives from malaria. The project, under The Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) is working with faith leaders to spread malaria prevention messages.
The project which emphasizes five key messages (sleeping under insecticide treated bed net every night, clearing the surroundings of rubbish and mosquito breeding sites, encouraging pregnant women to attend Antenatal Care and take Intermittent Preventive Treatment, recognizing signs and symptoms of malaria to get medical treatment quickly and making sure treatment is taken as a full dose) is registering significant success stories! People are now sleeping under their insecticide treated bed nets, clearing their compounds of rubbish and visiting the medical centers when they recognize signs and symptoms of malaria.
To date, we have trained over 230 faith leaders as Malaria Faith Ambassadors who are faith leaders who go out and train additional members of their communities as Malaria Faith Champions (over 3,000 so far) and they have reached over 47,000 households. We plan to train additional faith leaders in February and our main focus for the next coming months will be to continue supporting these faith leaders to reach more families and to conduct media campaigns for the wider community.
As a medical doctor who trained and worked in a malaria endemic country, I have witnessed sickness and death caused by malaria and I am inspired by people who are motivated to donate their time or money to make sure that this killer but preventable disease is eliminated.
Josephine Muhairwe, Faiths Act Fellow Team Leader