How one local organization successfully leveraged resources in the fight against malaria
Strength of Women Foundation (SWF) is a Ghanaian non-governmental organization in the Adaklu Anyigbe District of Volta Region. The SWF has been working on malaria control and prevention for five years. Its capacity to bring about significant and sustainable change increased dramatically in 2011.
With resources provided by USAID, SWF expanded their community mobilization activities to support the District health office in meeting key malaria prevention objectives, including long lasting insecticide treated net (LLIN) distribution, in the district’s 258 communities. The SWF volunteers went door to door to hang nets in the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)-funded net hang-up campaign, and they reinforce the importance of consistently sleeping under a treated net. Volunteers met with community members in their homes, churches, markets, local bars, funerals, schools, lorry stations and playgrounds, bringing messages on malaria prevention and treatment to 53,000 people in the first quarter alone.
Through this USAID supported activity SWF volunteers became trusted leaders and malaria control advocates in the district; leading the district health office to partner SWF. The District Health Director through 12 community health nurses, committed 7 motor bikes, and a 4-wheel drive vehicle. SWF volunteers are now working alongside the district’s community health nurses to reach out to pregnant women and to help track women who had defaulted on their second or third doses of intermittent preventative treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp). Volunteers created awareness that quickening is the time to initiate IPTp, and this treatment would protect both the baby and the mother from malaria. One thousand pregnant women were reached in the first quarter.
The USAID grant to SWF has brought lifesaving services to disadvantaged rural communities in Ghana and strengthened this local organization to sustain the malaria control activities for the long term period.
“We ensured that people understood what drugs are appropriate for them to take and the risks involved. Once community members suspected of having malaria were tested and received a confirmed diagnosis, they took an ACT regimen without fear.”– Ms. Obirikorang, Executive Director, Strength of Women Foundation