AMREF Afar Malaria Prevention Project

Malaria is a major public health problem in the Afar region of north-eastern Ethiopia.
The region is almost entirely malarious and, as in the rest of Ethiopia, malaria is highly seasonal with great variation from year to year, leaving the population with little protective immunity. Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country, and has the largest economic impact of all communicable diseases in the region. AMREF launched a 5-year malaria intervention project in the Afar region in 2005, funded by CIDA, Addax Petroleum Foundation and AMREF Netherlands, for malaria prevention, control and elimination. The primary objectives of the project were to increase coverage of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), develop and utilize participatory communication tools to ensure high ITN retention and utilization rates, improve the ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of severe and AMREF supported the distribution of 145,000 ITNs in the region, targeting the most vulnerable groups -pregnant women and children- in particular, along with training on the proper use of bed nets to prevent malaria. The project developed innovative approaches to bring about behavioural changes in the community, including the use of “mother coordinators” as community-based health promoters who educate community members on the importance of prevention and control by visiting households door-to-door. Along with this widespread education campaign, the quality of case management was improved in the health facilities by introducing microscope use for a more accurate diagnosis of malaria than the previous clinical observation methods. 9% to 53% over the course of the project. In total, AMREF was able to reach more than 27% of the total population of Afar (350,000 people) and decrease morbidity and mortality due to malaria by over 20% (morbidity from 62% in 2004/05 to 41% in 2009/10 and mortality from 24.7% in 2004/05 to 2% in 2009/10). uncomplicated malaria, and to prompt treatment-seeking behaviour. AMREF's interventions have resulted in a significant improvement in ITN ownership and knowledge on the transmission of malaria, as well as an increase in the proportion of people sleeping under nets each night. Treatmentseeking behaviour for children under five has also improved with the percentage of sick children taking anti-malaria drugs rising from

Results 62% reduced mortality by 41% beneficiaries reached 350,000
reduced morbidity by

Training Sessions:

Participants of Health Extension Worker training in Awash

Beneficiary demonstrating proper ITN use

Refresher course for Mother Coordinators, March, 2010

Mother Coordinators rehearsing how to teach mothers using PMPT toolkit

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