Written by Megan Rossi,Â National Malaria Coordinator for Peace Corps Malawi
Operation Smile is an international charity that works with medical volunteers from all over the world to fix cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities of children and young people. The organization has provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children in more than 60 countries. For the past three years, Operation Smile has been coming to Malawi bringing their good graces to the warm heart of Africa.
This year, nine PCVs were able to attend the eight-day Operation Smile event in the capital city of Lilongwe. Peace Corps Volunteers are always welcomed at Operation Smile because of their language skills and knowledge of the host country culture. During the wait for surgery and recovery period at the shelter, volunteers took advantage of this timeÂ and taughtÂ malaria education and trained twenty-nine host country nationals in Grasstoot Soccer’s Skillz Malaria! Kids could be heard and seen from across the compound giving â€śmosquito kilosâ€ť, taking a stand and playing malaria ball! It was a day well spent!
LLINâ€™s were issued to all patients and their guardians upon arrival and volunteers also performed net hanging demonstrations while emphasizing the importance of sleeping under a bed net. Malaria prevention has come in just the right time as the National Malaria Control Program/Presiden’s Malaria Initiative prepare for the mass net campaign happening across the country later this year.
Although itâ€™s been a battle and the fight against malaria is far from over, PC Malawi continues to make an effort toÂ innovatively slip in malaria outreach in every possible way.