I am the head teacher of Mbane local primary school. We have recently started a malaria control programme. This means that we teach the children in our school about the dangers of malaria, how it is spread and how to prevent it. We also teach them to detect the early signs of malaria so that if they get malaria or they notice that family members are suffering they can urge the person to visit the clinic quickly for testing and treatment. We want to make the children aware that when children have malaria this can lead to other problems and tiredness that can affect school work.
During the rainy season we are in a special programme whereby the children are tested even if they don’t have signs and then given treatment if malaria is detected. This has helped reduce the malaria and anaemia cases. With a committee of children and teachers, we adapted and translated the 100 project’s Malaria 10 starter messages. Our sponsors have worked with the mobile phone providers and our 10 malaria messages go out on mobile phone messages as texts.
These messages help to communicate information on Malaria to the families so that are lessons reach their homes too. The messages are helping children convince their parents to use bed nets and to go for treatment. The messages are especially important to send during the school holidays when the rainy season begins and the mosquitoes start to breed. Of course it is difficult to prevent the mosquitoes biting children after dusk and before bedtime but we are working on ways to help with this.
We are an international child-focused programme in a French speaking country in Africa. When we were planning our school-based malaria control programme we realised that teachers were very important part of it. Teachers are engaged and effective, they are trusted by students and they understand the best channels of… communication that exist in the community between the schools, the students and the families.
Part of our malaria control strategy is to ensure that we deliver accurate and up to date information on malaria to our students and in a way which helps them take action at home to prevent mosquitoes biting them and other members of their family and to detect early signs of malaria.
The 10 Malaria messages are a useful start to create our own messages that fit our needs. We will also use our messages for an SMS campaign that can be delivered to teachers and families at the schools participating in the malaria control programme.