Monday, September 26, 2011

Teaching on Malaria and Mosquito Nets

"In West Africa, over 3,000 children die of malaria every day1; 1 out of every 5 childhood deaths is due to malaria.2  Malaria kills a child every 30 seconds in West Africa.2 "
(From 1 WHO 2003 Africa Malaria Report     2 WHO 2010 Africa Malaria Report)

Do you want more shocking data???

The disease can cause anemia and jaundice and, if not promptly treated,
can cause coma, kidney failure, or death.

To make matters worse, the West African rainy season that begins in June will cause flooding that will aggravate the problem, since standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the disease – according to Robert Agyarko, UN Children’s Fund Specialist on Malaria for West Africa.  In Freetown, Sierra Leone, it is estimated that between 60% and 70% of mosquitoes are malaria carriers!!!

“Mosquito nets are still the most effective tool for preventing malaria in West Africa.” 
Mosquito nets are infused with Permethrin, a long-lasting insecticide that acts as a barrier to prevent mosquitoes from penetrating the nets.  It drives away the mosquitoes and kills the ones that land.  Unfortunately, only 40% of households in Sierra Leone have an insecticide-treated mosquito net.

A church in the UK has donated £5,000 to Mercy Ships for the distribution of mosquito nets at the HOPE Center in Freetown.  This land-based facility houses patients who are awaiting surgery and those recovering from surgery onboard the hospital ship, the Africa Mercy.

When the patients are discharged from the HOPE Center, they will each be given a mosquito net and told how to use it properly.  They will also receive additional information on how to prevent malaria.  This promising strategy will make a difference in fighting this deadly disease.

This is an official article our writers wrote. I thought it would give you all a good background on why malaria prevention is so important. As I wrote in my previous e-mail update (if you don't receive those, but would like to, drop me a line at rekaborsiczky(at)yahoo(dot)com and I gladly add you to the list) part of my job is to go to the HOPE Center and teach the patients and their care givers on mosquito nets and malaria prevention. Becca, the lead educator came up with great stories and visuals to make the teachings more interactive and less boring.

me, teaching
We asked a few day workers to help with translation and props and we try to include the patients by asking them to act out roles - something they truly enjoy! :) I usually "fly around" as a giant mosquito with a straw poking children and adults, while the day workers reads the story... After the story we discuss what we have seen and I ask follow-up questions to ensure they understood the "lényeg" (sorry, non-Hungarian speakers, you need to ask somebody to explain this phrase... :)

Becca sitting on the mossy nets after the "performance"

Of course there is always time to play with the kids and spend time with the adults - a real treat for us, crew members! This girl is Hawa who is waiting for her plastic surgery that will enable her to use her right hand properly...

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