The U.S. Malaria Coordinator, Rear Admiral (retired) Timothy Ziemer, head of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC)’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), and implementing partners will observe community level malaria prevention and treatment activities in Manicaland Province between 7th and 11th June 2015. These activities, which include monitoring of mosquito populations and community level malaria case management, will showcase strategies used in Zimbabwe to prevent and effectively treat malaria, one of the most deadly diseases in the world.
In Zimbabwe, PMI is managed and implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For the past two years, Manicaland Province has reported the highest number of malaria cases and deaths (approximately 225,000, and 184, respectively) of any province in Zimbabwe. Contributing factors include the presence of mosquitoes that show signs of resistance to pyrethroid-based insecticides and high mobility of people in the province. USAID’s Africa Indoor Residual Spraying (AIRS) project worked with NMCP to adopt the use of Actellic®, an organophosphate based insecticide, for home spraying to kill the resistant mosquitoes.
To increase malaria education, diagnosis, and treatment services and outreach in the community, village health workers (VHWs) have been trained and given medical kits so they may supplement the work being done at health facilities. As of April 2015, 2,145 VHWs with basic diagnostic and case management training had been identified in Manicaland. Of those, approximately 1,400 had also been trained specifically in malaria community case management (MCCM). Ongoing trainings, supported by PMI through the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, will provide initial and refresher MCCM training as needed. The VHWs will soon be trained to administer a malaria medicine to help very ill patients before immediately referring them to a health facility. Starting this care in the community is a supplemental case management measure, and will help improve patients’ outcomes following advanced malaria care received in the health facility.
School health coordinators (SHCs) are another community-based cadre that is helping to educate the public about malaria prevention and control. The SHCs are trained and will form malaria clubs in schools so the participating children will in turn become change agents and educate others about ways to prevent malaria infections.
Since the U.S. PMI began its support to the people of Zimbabwe in 2011, the United States has committed a total of $71 million to combat malaria in Zimbabwe. The U.S. PMI plans to commit another $14.5 million next year.
PMI’s assistance for malaria activities in Zimbabwe in 2014 also include supplying long-lasting insecticide treated nets (over 655,000) and anti-malarial prevention drugs to pregnant women (approximately 800,000 treatments), training health and community workers in proper malaria case management (over 4,300), and providing malaria test kits (over 2 million) and therapy drugs (approximately 800,000 treatments).