Malaria kills more children under the age of five in Tanzania than any other disease. Despite its scale, malaria is preventable and can be cured effectively with the right treatment and early diagnosis.
Mtwara is one of the poorest areas in Tanzania. The under-five mortality rate there is twice the national average. AMREF is currently working to combat malaria in Mtwara and ensure that fewer children die from this preventable disease.
AMREF’s project aims to provide the population of Lithehu division of the Tandahimba District of Mtwara in South East Tanzania with the knowledge, skills and means to fight the prevalence of malaria within their community. The project focuses on enabling mothers and children, the most vulnerable members of the community, to access the vital health services they need to fight one of Africa’s most dangerous diseases.
AMREF’s project in Tandahimba aims to:
- To empower communities to prevent and control malaria and other communicable diseases such as TB and typhoid.
- To increase access to effective malaria prevention and treatment interventions for groups vulnerable to malaria, such as mothers and children.
- To improve local capacity to manage community health systems for the prevention and control of malaria and communicable disease by training local people to diagnose and treat malaria.
AMREF’s approach is always community-based, providing local people with the skills they need to bring better health to their own communities. We aim to reach 45,396 in 43 villages through the Tandahimba project and will train 172 local people as Community Health Workers, 4 per village. We will support them in organising Village Health Days educating the community on malaria diagnosis and ways to prevent malaria from spreading.
Key achievements so far:
- Use of bed nets by community members has risen from 47% in 2010 to 74% in 2011
- Deaths caused by malaria among children under 5 years has halved – from 60 deaths in 2010 to 30 deaths in 2011
- Provision of microscopes and Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Malaria to health facilities has enabled health workers to treat cases based on test results not symptoms, and reduce the reliance on anti-malaria drugs
- All 43 villages have held successful village health days, with increasing numbers of participants. The days focus on malaria prevention messages, but are also used for general health education and environmental cleaning