Friday, February 24, 2012
SUFI Civil Society Organisations Trained On MILDA Hang Up Campaign
By Ojong Helen Ayamba
Mimi Soppo is 30 years old and lives with the husband and five children at Ndobo, Bonendale neighbourhood of Bonassama Health District. Like her neighbours, she received vouchers for free mosquito nets at the local health centre during the last September 2011 mosquito net distribution campaign. Mosquito nets prevent malaria, a disease that is killing many children in Cameroon. Mimi got the voucher, but did not know where to get the free nets. They had never used mosquito bed nets before and two of her children failed in school because they were frequently sick with malaria.
Due to the size of their family, they received two bed nets and were advised to hang the nets up 24 hours after reception when they arrived home. Her husband helped her using a few nails to hang them, but the nets kept falling down. To receive mosquito nets is not enough. One must know how to correctly hang them. One net was hung and the other was just put aside.
Two weeks after the net distribution, two yo0ung people knocked at their door and were introduced by the village head as volunteers who would help them hang upbed nets correctly. Mimi was very happy and in less than one hour, all the nets were hung correctly and they learnt how to maintain them. Since then, the nets have changed their lives and for the first time, they are are all sleeping through the night without being bitten by mosquitoes. Since they have been using the nets, their children have not missed school because of fever.
SUFI is a five year project designed to reduce the prevalence of malaria. One of the easiest ways to reduce malaria is to prevent mosquitoes from biting humans. The challenge is that only 45% of children less than five years old, and less than 50% of pregnant women slept under an impregnated net at night before the national MILDA campaign in 2011.
As a result of the mass distribution of nets carried out by the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health and other partners, Plan Cameroon is training civil society organization and community based organisationson the importance of hanging the insecticide treated bed nets correctly and using them evry night of the year to prevent malaria.
This is the substance of a Scaling Up malaria control for Impact in Cameroon from 2011 and 2015, as Plan Cameroon and the Malaria Consortium – Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria embraced a capacity building trainer of trainers workshop to capacitate civil society organizations on the use of community monitoring and evaluation tools and communication support for behaviour change in Douala, littoral region of Cameroon.
Hang Up is the slogan that has been chosen to encourage people to always sleep under the long=life action impregnated mosquito net. According to the facilitators, a public awareness campaign for the use of the mosquito net will soon take off throughout Cameroon hang Up is an increased follow-up of the regular use of the mosquito net in the households.
The key facilitators of the workshop in Douala from the 21st – 23rd February, 2012 were Sibetcheu Daniel of the Malaria Consortium – Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria (MC-CCAM), Dr. FotsoFokam of Plan international Cameroon, Dr. Simo Francis of IRESCO and AKOA Lin Christophe of the malaria control unit for the littoral.
During the three days, the participants composed of the Chief District Medical Officers and the accredited SUFI Civil Society Organisations from the 19 health districts of the Littoral region exchanged the generalities of malaria, communication techniques, MILDA Hang Up campaign process, health information system with communities, how to elaborate a training schedule at district level and the elements of justification of an executed activity.
Malaria kills a person every 30 seconds. It is responsible for 500 million cases of illness every year and kills children in particular. It is endemic in 109 countries around the world and reinforces poverty. That is why it is considered a permanent enemy, because it surfaces each time control and prevention is slowed down
The short term objective is that 80% patients are and treated with efficient anti-malaria prescription. All pregnant women receive malaria prevention treatment from 4 months of pregnancy. In the short term, incidence of malaria in the world is reduced by 75% and that the realisation of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals in the case of the fight against malaria is achieved. The universal coverage is continued with efficient interventions
In Cameroon,181 civil society organisations and 15.500 community based organisations are involved in the control of malaria throughout the ten regions.