“Ready to Beat Malaria” in Madagascar

April 24th, 2018 | News

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As countries around the world declare they are “ready to beat malaria” on World Malaria Day, Madagascar celebrates a profound achievement: it has reduced malaria incidence by 39% and malaria-related morbidity by 60% (data from 2015-2016, PMI 2018). While malaria is traditionally endemic in 90% of the country, in early 2018 the African Leaders Malaria Alliance recognized Madagascar and five other African nations for their sharp decline in malaria cases from 2015-2016 and overall contribution toward the continent’s goal of becoming malaria-free by 2030.

A key part of Madagascar’s success has come from reducing malaria at the community level; around 64% of Madagascar’s population live in rural communities. Over the past eight years, JSI has been a key partner for the Ministry of Health (MOH) in implementing national health policy at the community level, working to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality with a key focus on family planning, immunization, and malaria.

Currently, JSI supports the MOH through the USAID Community Capacity for Health Program, locally known as Mahefa Miaraka, which empowers more than 10,000 community health volunteers (CHVs) to provide basic health services. These CHVs offer an integrated package of maternal, newborn, and child health services, including family planning; improving water, hygiene, and sanitation; and linking rural communities to other levels of the health system as needed. Without CHVs, who diagnose, treat, and refer malaria cases, and spread malaria-prevention messages, Madagascar’s malaria achievements would not happen.

In honor of World Malaria Day, April 25, Mahefa Miaraka will share insights on community surveillance and its effectiveness in reducing severe malaria at a “National Day of Sharing” with development partners in Antananarivo. The presentation will highlight the success the program has had in reducing the number of children under five who die from malaria by identifying spikes in cases as early as possible.

Mahefa Miaraka builds on JSI’s legacy of community health and malaria work in Madagascar. Most recently, under the MAHEFA program JSI trained 6,052 CHVs to provide selected health services and counseling, improving health for 3.5 million people. As part of this program, more than 670,000 million people received messages about malaria prevention for pregnant women; approximately 1 million people received messages about malaria prevention among children under five; and more than 257,000 children under five were treated with artemisinin-based combination therapy after testing positive for malaria.

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