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Archive for the ‘World Malaria Day’ Category

Posted by Kent Campbell, PATH Malaria Control Program Director

We’ve just concluded an extraordinary morning here at the PATH office in Seattle. The area’s best and brightest in the global malaria community gathered at PATH headquarters in Seattle today to commemorate the third annual World Malaria Day and the lineup was impressive: Seattle BioMed, Rotary, Episcopal Relief and Development, World Vision, Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network, University of Washington, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and PATH’s Malaria Vaccine Initiative.

Over recent weeks as the event really took shape, I was struck by the remarkable the number partners within a 20-mile radius of PATH with whom we have the privilege of working. Gathering all in the same room to share progress, breakthroughs, and challenges—work that is happening in our community every single day—was truly inspiring. Over 150 scientists, researchers, community members, and other partners who attended the event heard from those of you who are in the late stages of developing the world’s most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate, other working at NGOs with “boots on the ground” distributing nets who are forging lasting partnerships at the community level (where the real hope for sustainability resides), and Rotarians who are traveling across the globe support Zambia’s malaria control work as part of their commitment “to do good in the world”.  And we were also joined this morning with presentations from Dr. Rob Newman from WHO’s Global Malaria Program and Dr. Rick Steketee from PATH’s own Malaria Control Program, both broadcasting from Ferney-Voltaire, France.

We last met in 2007 to benchmark global progress in malaria control and our commitment to fighting malaria—and our partnership in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States—is stronger than ever. The intense and diverse range of effort that we heard about this morning is helping change the malaria control landscape and these gatherings are strengthening our vibrant, ever-expanding malaria community. We at PATH are grateful to be a part of such a community and to be afforded the opportunity to once again gather together to benchmark this groundbreaking progress in fighting the disease. We have now reached a critical juncture in the fight against malaria and cannot wait to let three years pass until we meet again.

A 6-minute video clip of World Malaria Day events over the last couple of days in Zambia can be seen below. It gives you a quick glimpse at very recent activities, mostly related to the Seattle Rotarians’ visit to launch a partnership with Zambian Rotarians. And you can enjoy watching Hon Minister of Health Simbao scoring a goal against malaria!

 

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We had a packed house as the malaria community gathered at PATH headquarters in Seattle to commemorate World Malaria Day today!  Photos, video, and a full write-up to follow shortly. Stay tuned!

Front row (left to right): Regina Rabinovich (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Stefan Kappe (Seattle BioMed), Carol Sibley (University of Washington, WWARN)

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Posted by John Adams, Rotary Member

Seattle Rotary #4 was active with the Rotary Malaria Control Project on World Malaria Day today, with a team on the ground in Zambia.  Jim Moore, Roy Mann and John Adams all attended several events related to malaria eradication. 

We joined with members of the Seattle PATH team in Zambia working on the MACEPA program, including Ben Cheng and Gena Morgan, and Mshuka Kamwela, who is based in MACEPA’s Lusaka office. We first visited with the District Commissioner of Health in Mpongwe.  There we presented three wheelchairs donated by our Rotary Club for the use of local children.

Donating a wheelchair in Mpongwe

The District Commissioner of Health, Ms. Minivan Mutes, gave us a briefing on the local malaria situation.  She gave an impassioned speech at the official launch of World Malaria day about community involvement in malaria eradication. 

We learned from Dr. Frederick Kaoma, from the Rotary Club of Mufulira, that many cases of cerebral palsy here in Zambia are caused by malaria, when pregnant mothers cannot provide adequate oxygen to their babies at birth because of malaria-induced anemia.  These children often require wheelchairs for life to assist with mobility.

During our discussion with the District Commissioner of Health, she asked if she could join Rotary!  The Rotarians present said they would be sure to sponsor her.  Modestine Kaoma, a local Rotarian, explained the four-way-test to her with such passion we all applauded.  We then all joined and sang ‘happy birthday’ and gave a wheelchair to a boy on his 15th birthday.

Community health workers in Ibenge

The next stop was the Ibenge Clinic.  Here we observed community health workers giving new insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) to pregnant mothers and young women.  These bednets can protect expectant mothers from the common miscarriages that can result from malaria infection. 

There were several dozen young mothers who received free bednets and they were highly appreciative.  Children ages one to five years are particularly vulnerable to malaria.  For each mother, the chance of having her children live a normal lifespan is very personal and her highest priority.

Distributing nets to pregnant women and young children in Ibenge

In Zambia, the volunteer community health workers, such as those we saw providing bednets at the Ibenge clinic, are in the front lines, helping the local community health departments to implement malaria control interventions prescribed by the National Malaria Control Centre.  MACEPA and the local Rotary teams work with these volunteers in the national effort to eliminate malaria.

We stopped at an outdoor market on the way home, and the young women at the fish stalls were drumming, singing and dancing with joy in the early sunset.  It was infectious in the best sense, and was a happy and fitting end to our afternoon of Rotary service projects.

In the evening, we had a formal dinner with the members of eight local rotary clubs. Jim Moore led a discussion of “The Way Forward”, which helped each of the eight clubs to plan how to work towards elimination of malaria in Zambia.  The structured workshop helped each club to identify club personnel resources, the malaria control components of their current Rotary projects, their relationships with the local District Health commissioners and a section on planning for partnering strategies.

Jim asked two key questions:  “What are the next steps for your club?” and “What can we do for you at Seattle 4 and Rotary International?”  There were many resolutions about projects the eight clubs want to implement and useful recommendations that we will bring back with us to share with Rotary Club #4 on how we may help these clubs.

PATH and the MACEPA program were the facilitators for all of these meetings, and have provided a combination of inspiration, vision, and flawless execution of logistics and scheduling.  We are convinced that Rotary #4, working with Rotary International and local clubs in communities in Zambia, can take simple and effective steps that will help prevent malaria in the region and ultimately save thousands of lives.

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Posted by Todd Jennings, MACEPA Communications Officer 

Pre-match greetings

Football (soccer) is a living, breathing force on this continent.  Mobile phones buzz with match day updates and the final whistle releases a rain of text messages on opposing fans.  From the playground to the pub, you can ignite a heated discussion by claiming the brilliance of Messi bests that of Rooney or Ronaldo.  In Zambia, the loudest political headlines is an analogy from the beautiful game: for example, a Catholic priest has begun a movement to show a red card to the government.  Just as a red card ejects a footballer from the pitch, this effort—which includes the now illegal act of flashing red cards during public rallies—encourages voters to remove the current government in the next election.

Zambian Minister of Health Simbao, wearing a World Malaria Day t-shirt

That’s why tapping a force like football makes so much sense.  The United Against Malaria campaign seeks to fight the fever of malaria with the fever of football.  Today we saw that in action as the Minister of Health, Kapembwa Simbao, captained a soccer team against a mighty opponent: former stars from the national team, the Chipolopolo Boys.  Zambia did not qualify for the World Cup in South Africa but Simbao rallied his squad, saying today’s match was “our World Cup”.  His halftime speech—to a team of business leaders, musicians and partners including USAID and UNICEF—was persuasive but it wasn’t enough to overcome quality football by the Chipolopolo Boys.  Minister Simbao did lead by example, however, converting a penalty kick with a cracking shot into the back of the net.  Why did the referee award a kick from the spot?  Because of a penalty that resulted in a red card.  

Little girls holding United Against Malaria soccer balls

A former star was sent off the pitch and while the crowd laughed at the connection to the political debate, it wasn’t hard to take the analogy one step further. From inspiring political leadership to inspiring families to make sure their children sleep under a bednet at night, Zambia is united against malaria—and the country is working together to show malaria a red card.

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Posted by Ben Cheng, MACEPA Adovcacy and Communications Director

After frantically rebooking flights following the volcanic eruption in Iceland that closed most of Europe’s airports, Gena Morgan (PATH program officer for special initiatives) and I finally arrived in Lusaka last night, two days later than originally planned. Our delegation was potentially in jeopardy as the backlog in Europe meant many flights were unavailable. Thanks to Emirates Airlines, the Seattle Rotarians were able to rebook their flights through Dubai at the last minute and just arrived in Lusaka tonight, about 15 hours later than planned and without their luggage—but they made it. 

Rotary Shirt

T-shirt design created for this inaugural meeting of the Zambia/Seattle Rotary partnership

We are traveling to Zambia to begin the first phase in a partnership between U.S. Rotarians and Zambian Rotarians—a partnership to strengthen the ability of Zambian Rotarians to serve as community leaders in the fight against malaria and to help ensure that malaria control interventions are available nationwide. Many Rotarians across Zambia have been mobilized and are coming together this weekend to start laying the groundwork for this new partnership.

Approximately 20 Rotarians from across Zambia will be arriving in Lusaka tomorrow to join us on our five-hour bus ride up to Mpongwe, in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, where the country’s World Malaria Day activities will be held. An additional 40 Rotarians from the Copperbelt will be meeting us in Mpongwe.

The Minister of Health, Honorable Kapembwa Simbao, is expected to be the guest of honor at the Mpongwe World Malaria Day event. Rotarians have been invited to share the podium with the Minister and other dignitaries to share details about the budding partnership between US and Zambian Rotary Clubs and the start of the Rotary Malaria Control Project. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day!

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Posted by Cristina Herdman and Laura Newman, MACEPA Communication Officers

Welcome to our blog! It’s been almost one year since we were in Lusaka to commemorate World Malaria Day 2009, and countries have made amazing progress in the fight against the disease since then. World Malaria Day is an opportunity for us to once again shine a light on the important work that is happening every day and some of the dedicated people who are making it happen.  As we write this, malaria indicator surveys are taking place in Zambia and Malawi, Ethiopia is continuing to build its army of 30,000 community health workers, and innovative partnerships are developing across continents. This work is all about saving lives and stopping malaria now, on the path toward attaining the RBM and MDG targets of counting out malaria.

Our blog will include voices from many different partners, representing the diversity of work underway in Africa. Bloggers will include a range of voices and perspectives: MACEPA staff reflecting on activities, challenges, and progress in Zambia, Malawi, and Ethiopia; Seattle Rotary Club members traveling to the region to begin work on a malaria control partnership; and in-country experts conducting malaria indicator surveys. We think these perspectives will provide an interesting overview of how effective malaria control works—and of the real impact and challenges that take place every day. We’re excited to have such a stellar lineup of people ready to share their thoughts and experiences and hope you’ll check in every day to read their latest entries.

You can stay up-to-date on our blog by clicking the “email subscription” button to have updates sent directly to your inbox or by subscribing to our RSS feed, which will deliver updates directly to your online reader of choice. Or you can simply bookmark this page or add it to your favorite links. Use the category tags in the upper right-hand corner to find content that interests you—as the blog grows, you will be able to click on the “Rotary” tag to call up all entries from Rotary members or the “Ethiopia” tag to find all entries written from Ethiopia. We have enabled comments on our blog and would love to hear from you!

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