Weekly Awesome Botswana: Mapping the Way to Eradication

As a country moves from malaria control to malaria elimination stage, different strategies are employed on the path to eradication. As the burden of disease lowers, the importance of surveillance rises, which allows for targeted and localized strategic interventions. PCV Mike Banfield had the opportunity to work with the Botswana …

Togo Weekly Awesome: Small Scale Net Distribution

Even though a mass net distribution happened months before, when I came to Kaniamboua two years ago many families in my community didn’t have bed nets or didn’t have enough bed nets to cover all the sleeping spaces in their household. Bed nets were difficult to find, they were mostly …

Togo Weekly Awesome: Country Wide Bed Net Distribution

Togo had a country wide bed net distribution in August and September to achieve 100% bed net coverage, defined as 1 net per 2 people in a household. About 25 Peace Corps volunteers participated in the distribution by attending and contributing suggestions at community health agent meetings/trainings, going on house …

Togo Weekly Awesome: What Can You Use Empty Cans For?

Last month PCV Chelsea Clarke put some empty tin cans to good use. Chelsea lives in a small village in northern Togo. Though she is an environmental volunteer, she knows that malaria affects EVERYBODY and she wanted to do something about it. Chelsea got the idea for making portable mosquito …

Malawi Weekly Awesome: Malaria Mural Montage

It is impossible to live and work in Malawi without witnessing the negative impact of malaria on the people here. As an Education PCV teaching secondary school students, I see not the presence of disease, but rather the absences it creates. During rainy season, class size dwindles as my students …

Uganda Weekly Awesome: Nightwatch Surprises

Working as a health volunteer with a local NGO, I didn’t think I would have many opportunities to work in or appreciate the Ugandan school system. Boy, was I wrong. Back in April, I participated in World Malaria Month. One of my major programs was implementing the Night Watch Curriculum …

Gambia Weekly Awesome: Let’s talk about malaria

I probably said this before, but I get so discouraged thinking about malaria. It is such a devastating and debilitating disease with long-term consequences. It also unfairly attacks sub-Saharan Africa because of the climate and the fact that anopheles mosquitoes here prefer to feed on human, while malaria-carrying mosquitoes in …

Gambia Weekly Awesome: Launching Grassroots Soccer in The Gambia

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Since I came to The Gambia in March 2014 I have wanted to work with kids; now I’m finally getting my chance. After spending over a year in my primary assignment in the National Malaria Control Program, mostly at a desk, I have been itching to run all over playing sports with children. Living in the greater Banjul area with a very small host family in an entirely tiled compound, I haven’t had the experience I was envisioning when joining Peace Corps. Most Peace Corps volunteers go through this adjustment period of what they were expecting and what their specific experience has actually turned out to include.

One thing I have learned after my 19 months in country is that this is MY service. This is a bit of a tricky concept because after all it is service. I came to serve, wherever there was need and however I could. But if I am unproductive or unhappy that service can start losing its meaning very quickly. The last few months I have begun to add a few secondary projects to the work I am doing here and it has transformed my experience. I might not be making a difference, it’s hard to tell…but I am happy again and happiness makes it a lot easier to keep trying. One of the most exciting secondary projects that I have added is the launching of the Grassroots Soccer’s “Malaria Skillz” curriculum in a local Senior Secondary school. This simple, exciting and engaging curriculum uses games with football to teach essential malaria lessons.

Gambia Weekly Awesome: Welcoming Rainy Season with Warnings about Malaria

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After a June storm that rendered the sky dark saffron from dust, the air chilled from turbulent winds, and the land moist from rain, The Gambia officially entered the rainy season. Health Volunteer Di Yi “Jessica” He welcomed the change of weather by coordinating multiple malaria sensitization activities in and around her Upper River Region village called Kulari.jess

“Kame ke gana li, sirimu gabu wa liini; siriumu ku gana li, I lawa malaria kini angda ado ang dimbaya da.” Jessica explains in Serehule: when the rains come, many mosquitoes will come, too; when the mosquitoes come, they are able to give you and your family malaria. This phrase initiated many of Jessica’s malaria-related activities including malaria sensitization sessions, bed net stitching, and neem cream (a local, homemade insecticide) demonstrations.

TBT: My one year anniversary on World Malaria Day

Sarah Genelle Castagnola, PCV Uganda

Do you miss reading about World Malaria Day? So do we! This week we are throwing it back to an incredible volunteer, highlighting her admirable efforts on World Malaria Day. Check out Sarah Genelle Castagnola, as she reflects on her first year of service and overcoming challenges in the field.

Cameroon: Reinvigorating malaria prevention efforts

How can you make a town hear a message they’ve fallen deaf to? Well, with a megaphone, of course!

Unfortunately, people here in Cameroon already know about malaria. I call it unfortunate because if they had never heard of it, and you told them about a brand new illness that killed more African children every year than anything else, they would fear it. They would rise up in arms to fight it at all costs, saving their lives and their children’s lives. But malaria isn’t new to them. It isn’t sexy. It’s mundane, and they aren’t motivated or compelled to inconvenience themselves to fight it, even when the inconvenience is hanging a mosquito net that was given to them free of cost.

Intern Spotlight: Serena Hagerty

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Meet our summer intern! Serena is an undergraduate student at Harvard pursuing a joint degree in psychology and economics. At school she has been involved in several public health groups, such as the Harvard Undergraduate Malaria Colloquium, and hopes to ultimately develop a career in public health. More specifically, Serena …

Bringing the “Gold Standard” to a gold mining community

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By: Alisa Langford When Peace Corps volunteer and Master’s International student Matthew Ward came to Ghana to work on his Public Health thesis about tropical medicine, he naturally chose one of the most deadly and prevalent diseases here – malaria. Matthew first aimed to increase the quality of care for …

Weekly Awesome: Bed Net Repair in Centrale Region

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In June and July, eight volunteers conducted bed net repair trainings in 12 villages in the Centrale Region of Togo. The trainings were based off of the bed net repair tourneys previously conducted by PCVs in Senegal. In all, over 250 individuals were educated on malaria transmission, the importance of …

Weekly Awesome Uganda: Volunteer Focuses-In On Pregnant Mothers Under-18

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Uganda is the world’s youngest country in the world with an average age of barely over 15 and with 77% of population below the age of 30. Uganda’s fertility rate stands at 6.7, meaning that the average woman has nearly 7 children in her lifetime.  Because of malaria’s extreme effect …