Chembe Malaria Prevention... A Community Based Project Protecting Children

Malaria: A Tropical Pandemic

Malaria still maintains its standing as the number one killer of children under 5, worldwide. This disease is most prevalent in developing nations with tropical climates. In Malawi, the rainy season from November to March brings an increase in breading for the anopheles mosquitoes which carry the malaria microorganism. Children, especially those under 5 years of age, have no immune response history to Malaria. As a result, an infection with malaria in a child has a greater severity, and a higher chance of fatality. Mosquito nets are extremely effective against acquiring a malaria infection. While many mosquitoes are out during the day, and can bite at any hour, the anopheles mosquito which carries the malaria parasite is a nocturnal species that feeds, predominantly, between the hours of 11pm and 5am. Sleeping under a net takes children out of the feeding environment during these peak hours, protecting them from infection.

Malaria Prevention: Community Education and Net Distribution
In an effort to respond to this disease, Chembe Malaria Prevention was formed in Cape Maclear, in 2007. The program works in hand with Sekanawo to identify vulnerable children in the community that could benefit most from the nets. Sekanawo volunteers are trained in Malaria prevention and transmission, and act as community educators to train the guardians of orphans and vulnerable children that receive the nets. In conjunction with education, the project distributes mosquito nets, free of charge and families are shown innovative hanging techniques and are encouraged to have as many children to sleep under the net as possible.

Malaria in Africa: Orphans and HIV/AIDS
The project focuses on orphans and vulnerable children in the village. Because of the pandemic of HIV/AIDS, there are many orphans in Malawi. Most orphans live with extended family which places a financial strain on those people caring for them. This makes the vulnerability of orphans twofold: Firstly, there is the likelihood that the orphans, too, have HIV, which would make a malaria infection much more dangerous. Secondly, because of the financial burden placed on their guardians, it is not likely that these families can afford the extra expense of quality health care of mosquito nets.

Future: The direction of Chembe Malaria Prevention
This project continues to grow in its effort to reduce both the transmission and overall prevelance of malaria infections. All donations are used to purchase mosquito nets, conduct community education sessions, and expand services into the villages of Mangochi District. The project goal is to ensure that every child sleeps under a mosquito net, regardless of socio-economic or health status. The project is dedicated to sustainable development, and to this end, local community volunteers, as educators and facilitators, are used for all programming.

Chembe Village / Cape Maclear, Malawi...

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