News @ JSI

JSI Program Supports Community Health Volunteers Fighting Plague

November 3, 2017

On October 31st, 2017, the Government of Madagascar declared that the country’s recent plague outbreak had stabilized and is now under control. Of the 1,801 confirmed infections, just 127 deaths have occurred, largely due to the quick action of health workers at every level.

JSI/WEI Photo Library Photo
JSI/WEI Photo Library Photo
At a medical checkpoint, paramedic students use infrared thermometers to check people entering the city of Mahajanga for fever. Those with fevers are


Community health volunteers (CHVs) are the foundation of Madagascar’s health system; they serve the communities where they live by treating minor illnesses and ensuring that those with more serious ailments are transported to a larger health facility. For almost 10,000 of these volunteers, the Mahefa Miaraka Program is a source of training, information, and support that enables them to serve their communities more.

JSI/WEI Photo Library Photo
JSI/WEI Photo Library Photo
In the Analamamy village, CHV Pelandrova explains what to do about a suspected case.


Madagascar is one of the few countries in which plague is endemic, often recording the highest number of confirmed cases globally each year; anywhere from 300 to 600 cases. Typically, these cases appear sometime between October and March.The most recent outbreak has included both bubonic and pneumonic plague cases. Bubonic is the most common form of plague, transmitted by flea bites, while pneumonic plague (lung-based plague) is transmitted person-to-person and can be deadly if not immediately treated.

JSI/WEI Photo Library Photo
JSI/WEI Photo Library Photo
The Antongomena Bevary women’s group cleaning the market to prevent fleas and rats.


Over the next few months, Mahefa Miaraka will work with the Government of Madagascar-led crisis units and other development partners to:
  • Train 9,842 CHVs, 4,887 fokontany heads, and 6,282 members of the National Policy for Community Health at the regional, district, and commune levels on plague and plague response using new curriculum from the MOH. [MM3]
  • Assist CHVs in reporting plague cases as they happen.
  • Develop and distribute health spots for local radio stations.
  • Reinforce CHV understanding of good hygiene and waste management practices like disposal pit construction and monitoring.
  • Support the regional public health directorate to implement emergency response action plans, including plague-related drug and supply transportation, provision of hygiene supplies, and health worker equipment.
  • Conduct trainings for regional and district MOH health leaders and trainers.

Learn more about the Mahefa Miaraka Program and JSI’s work in emergency preparedness.