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Keeping children safe from malaria keeps families healthy

“Through the door-to-door strategy, we can see how satisfied the parents are with our work. In addition to the health benefit, we saw how the seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) campaign also affects the economic power of a household,” said Yahaya Assoumane.  

Yahaya along with his colleague Ramatou Mahamadou are two community health workers that form an SMC campaign distribution team in the Koré Mairoua district of Tibiri, Niger. The national malaria control program in Niger implements SMC campaigns, with support from the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) through PMI Impact Malaria, to protect children under the age of five. This age group is the most vulnerable and preventive SMC campaigns protect them from malaria infection during the rainy season when malaria transmission rates are high.  

Yahaya and Ramatou are one distribution team of hundreds across Niger that make SMC campaigns happen. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, parents would come to health centers or designated distribution sites to get preventative malaria medicines for their children. Now, to eliminate large gatherings and continue life-saving prevention efforts, distribution teams like Yahaya and Ramatou come to them. They go house-to-house to distribute preventative malaria medicines to children and provide information to parents on proper dosing and administration.  

Yahaya and Ramatou recently visited the home of Farida Amadou, a mother of three, two of whom are under the age of five years. Farida told them, “I am very happy that my children received this treatment and I saw how important these drugs were, because last year thanks be to God my children did not get malaria.”  

Yahaya Assoumane and Ramatou Mahamadou visit Farida Amadou’s home during door-to-door outreach for SMC. Photo credit: PMI Impact Malaria, Niger 

Farida also shared how SMC campaigns, in keeping her children healthy, benefit her whole family. As Farida explains, “...if the children do not get sick, we will be able to carry out our farming activities and save our resources, which are already insufficient. The SMC saves us time and improves our health; our children are healthy, and we all have time to cultivate our fields more in order to have enough to provide for them.” 

Yahaya and Ramatou can reach up to 80 children at their homes in a single day during SMC campaigns. Last year, PMI Impact Malaria-supported SMC campaigns in Niger reached over 1.2 million children with essential medicines to keep them protected from malaria for the duration of rainy season. 

PMI Impact Malaria is funded and technically assisted by the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) and is led by Population Services International (PSI) in partnership with JhpiegoMedical Care Development International (MCDI), and the Malaria Elimination Institute (MEI) at UCSF

Posted by Katherine Kemp at 08:00
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