Lutheran Church Intensifies Malaria Prevention Campaign in Rural Liberia
Bong County – Under its preventive health services program, the Lutheran Church in Liberia Malaria Program (LCLMP) continues to employ various measures in expanding its malaria prevention awareness campaign in rural communities mainly in central Liberia.
The prevalence rate of malaria parasitemia in children across the region is put at 62% according to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare 2016 Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS).
Through funding support from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ( ELCA), Lutheran Church in Liberia Malaria Program currently implements its malaria prevention project in 10 catchment communities in Bong County using different communication channels and a chain of Community Health Volunteers (CHV) to convey malaria preclusion messages among the local population.
According to the LCL Malaria Program Coordinator Sue Larmouth Gaye-Korgba , component of the project focuses on advocacy training where community members are provided skills to initiate local advocacy on malaria prevention in their localities to continue beyond the project lifespan as part of the sustainability strategy and building ownership among community residents to develop the resilience in managing their own healthcare.
‘’We are also involved with the establishment of school health clubs in all ten project communities where students lead malaria prevention awareness and sensitization campaigns on various school campuses and communities. The focus of these campaigns has been mainly to increase responsiveness among the locals on the right usage and maintenance of the mosquito nets we normally distribute to prevent malaria’’ the LCL malaria program coordinator emphasised.
Madam Gaye-Korgba indicated under the malaria prevention project, community malaria prevention committee has been established in all 10 communities targeted by the project involving various community stakeholders including women and youth representation.
“These committees lead periodic community clean-up and awareness activities to keep their environment safe from malaria prevalent. As a result of these community-driven sanitary activities, we are now realizing considerable decline of malaria-related illnesses being reported at health health facilities within the location of our project mainly in Kpai District, Bong County’’ the malaria program coordinator at the LCL further disclosed.
According to Madam Gaye-Korgba, since the inception of the project second phase in 2017, more than four thousand ( 4,000) persons have directly benefited from the malaria prevention campaigns through peer education , school health club activities , community health committee, big belle club, distribution of treated mosquito nets , provision of malaria prevention flyers and support to health facilities within the project area.
As a means of keeping community residents engage with regular conversation around malaria prevention and other diseases to keep the network of community health committee active beyond the project implementation period , Madam Gaye-Korgba indicated the program also piloted the establishment of five Village Saving Loan Association (VSLA) in Gbonota and Hindii situated in Bong County including Millsburg, Mount Barclay, and No. 7 Kingsville located in rural Montserrado County . According to the LCL malaria program coordinator, each VSLA group has 30 person membership and 150 persons are direct beneficiaries of the revolving financial scheme.
Meanwhile, catchment communities that are directly being impacted by the LCL integrated malaria prevention program in the central region of Liberia continue to laud the faith-based institution for the public health intervention that is helping to curb the prevalent rate of the child killer illness (malaria).
‘’ I am very happy for the presence of the LCL malaria program in our community because before the program came to this area, our children were frequently getting sick and sometimes result to death as a result of malaria attack. For a short time in our community, malaria cases have reduced through the education we continue to receive from the community health workers on how to prevent malaria. We regularly clean our surroundings and we fine people violating not to clean their environment,’’ Mr. Joseph P. Mogbuwai, town chief of Shillingta, Kpai District, Bong County.
The 2016 Health Facility Survey (HFS), the most recent such study, found that malaria remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, accounting for about 42 percent of all clinical consultations and 44 percent of all inpatient deaths among children under five years of age.
The Liberian Ministry of Health’s Joint Annual Health Sector Review Report of 2016 indicated that malaria services were mostly available and provided by 97 percent of the health facilities across the country.