May 10th was the official swearing-in where 36 Peace Corps Agriculture and Health Trainees became Peace Corps Volunteers. Jouvin Randria, Homestay Coordinator, recently went to the Stomping Out Malaria in Africa Boot Camp in Thies, Senegal in Feburary. He came back with an amazing idea. Let’s give ALL new PCVs a ‘malaria packet.’ This ‘packet’ he said was being developed all over PC Africa and “Madagascar should do the same” he said. Inside the packet would include malaria educational resources and possibly mosquito nets for the new volunteer to use for demonstrations at site.
Jouvin mentioned this about a 2 months ago. Last week all 36 PCVs received a malaria packet. Now, as PCVs we’re told to learn to integrate within the first three months at site, before IST (In-Service Training). Many PCVs like that, but there are more that wish they had something to do. Something that can last their whole 2 years, something they can say they started as soon as they got to site. The packet will help with that. As one of Stomping Out Malaria in Africa’s goal is that every volunteer is a malaria volunteer, this packet will do just that. During PST all 36 trainees received a malaria handbook, full of information about malaria in general, in Madagascar, in Africa and plenty of activities they can do. Let alone the activities they were involved in during World Malaria Day 2013. This training group is the most equipped to Stomp Out Malaria all over Madagascar.
The packet included; brochures, posters, counseling cards and mosquito nets. UNICEF was kind enough to give Peace
Corps Madagascar brochures, counseling cards and 700 posters depicting bed net usage every night, full intake of IPTp (Intermittent Preventative Treatment of Pregnant women) and early treatment and care seeking. Each volunteer received 2 of each poster, 10 brochures, a set of counseling cards and 2 or 3 mosquito nets depending if they were health or agriculture; health received 3 nets and agriculture received 2 nets. The nets were kindly provided to us by PSI (Population Services International).
This packet which also included a translated version of all the documents and what to do with it was given to trainees a few days before swearing-in. As they all know that malaria is a PC Africa wide initiative this gave them the tools needed to do malaria projects at site. The posters and brochures weren’t meant to be just given away. The volunteers were trained that they should work with Community Health Workers (CHWs) and train them on malaria education and treatment. They can then give them the poster and/or brochures to the CHW to use around town and in his/her village. The set of counseling cards had everything from; what is malaria and where it comes from, the danger signs, prevention and treatment. The mosquito nets are meant to be used for demonstrations on hanging techniques (changing it from square to round), reinforcement (adding fabric to the top and bottom) and repair. They also can be given to a family of the PCVs choosing, preferably a family that lives close by that does not already have a net. The PCV can monitor and record how many times the members of that family have been sick before and after receiving the net, if they use it and how and there perceptions on malaria and bed nets. This gives the PCV a not-so-intense project within the first three months at site. They will report on how they used the nets, posters, brochures and counseling cards at their IST in August.
Good luck to all 36 new health and agriculture PCVs at their new sites all over Madagascar. Happy Stomping!