Flashback Friday: Malawi’s Mini Boot Camp in November

Writers:  Christina Baum, Erica Christie, Ayra Correa, Esther Mkandawire

Malawi’s Mini Boot Campers are Stomping Out Malaria – November 1-3 2016

That’s a wrap! The Stomp Malawi team finished up their 3rd Annual Mini Malaria Boot Camp training nineteen participants from ten different districts in Malawi. Volunteers and their counterparts learned about innovative and creative approaches to malaria prevention such as using mobile devices to map bed net usage and creating stencils for widespread messaging. Participants welcomed guest speakers from the global Stomp Out Malaria Initiative, The President’s Malaria Initiative, and Population Services International. Several of the participants wasted no time and hit the ground running – here are some of their stories!

PCV Ayra Correa and her counterpart, Esther Mkandawire have vowed to fight against malaria. Upon returning from mini boot camp, they transformed the boot camp workshop into a three day intervention for more than 50 girls residing at a local community secondary school which included an educational session, games, and hands on learning about how malaria is spread through the body, how to detect the symptoms, the importance of a quick diagnosis, and the importance of adhering to the medication. The girls learned how sleeping under a Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Net (LLIN) is one of the most effective ways not only to protect themselves from malaria, but also in preventing the spread of malaria to their communities. Each girl hung up a new bednet and had to teach and help one of her classmates. Way to keep things sustainable!

While Ayra, Esther and the young girls are kicking malaria’s butt in Northern Malawi, PCV Kristina Ciarlo and counterpart, Foster Master are stomping in the South. According to their Malaria Needs Assessment, community members lack knowledge on how to maintain and repair bednets and often misuse them as fences. Kristina and Foster felt inspired to address this and have since conducted 4 bednet care and repair sessions at the under 5 clinic for more than 200 mothers of children under 5. At these sessions, information about malaria transmission and what to do if someone has a fever is shared and better yet, demonstrations on how to care, repair, hang and transorm a square net into a conical one are conducted. Through these demonstrations and “teach backs” these mothers can better protect their children from malaria.

As there’s been a scale down of Indoor Residual Spraying due to insecticide resistance, bednet (LLIN) use is the primary method of prevention here in Malawi. Mid-2016 concluded Malawi’s first national mass distribution campaign making efforts to educate communities on how to care, properly hang and use a bednet every night is fundamental to ending malaria in Malawi.

Thanks for sharing Malawi!