Dear FAM Supporters,
From all of us Pilgrims around the world, THANK YOU for your continued support as we’ve been heads-down with your prayers and resources combating and treating malaria in Katakwi, Uganda. It’s been a busy few months since our last update; here’s what we’ve been up to…
Indoor Residual Spraying & Mass Drug Administration (MDA)
Our malaria approach is twofold – decreasing infected mosquitos through Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), and treating human carriers of the malaria parasite by means of mass drug administration (MDA).
The combined intervention began in early December. IRS teams worked grueling, back-to-back days making their way from house to house, methodically spraying the walls of each home and building. They worked without breaks (not even to eat or drink!) to avoid contamination, only pausing to bicycle with their equipment to the next home. Meanwhile, our MDA team members saw as many as 600 patients per day as they distributed weight-banded doses of antimalarial medications. Together, their hard work has been extremely admirable and vital to our cause – and their efforts have paid off!
Along with the smiles, initial IRS results for Kapujan and Toroma are in!
We had 98% overall coverage for IRS! In addition to this tremendous percentage of coverage, villagers and stakeholders also considered the efforts a success; acceptance and praises were high. Several of our visiting stakeholders commented that our coverage was “amazing” and much better than has been seen elsewhere in Uganda.
During MDA, villagers and their entire families traveled to the closest health centers by any means possible.
Once at the health center, they waited in line for their chance to receive their first dose of antimalarials as well as strict directions on taking the remaining two doses. As a safeguard to ensure the remaining doses were ingested, Village Health Team workers (VHTs) traveled house to house collecting the empty packets in the following days.
All in all, we provided MDA treatment in 18 villages, to 16,000 people, resulting in a whopping ~85% of all eligible persons receiving treatment.
Currently we have a handful of activities going on:
- Reporting, reporting, and more reporting – so many have provided support (like you!), so we are making progress with reporting back on our findings, successes, and challenges, including our first formal analysis back to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Qualitative interviews and reporting – talking to folks in our study area to collect feedback on what we did well, and what can improve for the next round of IRS & MDA
- Entomological collections & reporting – we continue to collect mosquitos for analysis and comparison with our baseline collections
- Collecting Health Center Data – partnering with our local health centers to monitor, treat, and report on any cases of malaria in the area.
And of course, preparing for our upcoming second round of IRS and MDA, scheduled for June of this year.
One of the VHTs explained the vitality of our project in the most raw and beautiful way:
“If there was no malaria, there would be a lot of development. I would be involved in certain businesses, famine also might not (be) disturbing me. Then other commercial activities would be involved… (including) development like schooling, most of my kids would be studying abroad even”.
These dreams are becoming tangible through the results of IRS and MDA, and our work is simply a reflection of the passion displayed by YOU, our supporter.
We have a lot of work still to do, but this kick-off of Phase 1 has been an exciting and promising start, full of hope for the future. For this, we thank you!