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At 75, Mwita Gisunte, a resident of Nyamagagana village, Kuria County, has seen many things but never in his wildest dream had he dared to imagine receiving health care in his humble mud hut.

Today though, it is the dawn of a new era for the widower, who for years trekked over four kilometers in pursuit of treatment – a long and cumbersome journey characterized by harsh terrain and danger lurking at every turn.

Now, history will not repeat itself for his 12-year-old grandson Moherai Mwita who he has been left to care for.

“Being an old man it has been hard for me to get treatment from the nearest health facility which is about 4 kms from my home, yet it is a necessity with malaria always attacking us because we do not have a mosquito net,” says Gisunte.

Untitled-5“But this is now a thing of the past,” says the widower as he ushers in Nchagwa Syprose – a Community Health Worker(CHW) who has been paying his family regular visits to offer them the health services they require. Recently and to his delight, Gisunte received a Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Net, bushes near his hut were cleared to rid mosquito breeding sites and a toilet was dug.

Gisunte is among the many fortunate people receiving services from CHW, thanks to the intervention of Global Fund Malaria Round 1, which the Kenya NGO Alliance Against Malaria (KeNAAM) received in 2013.

With over 28 million Kenyans being at risk of Malaria, KeNAAM has taken the fight to the communities door step by innovatively using the Global Fund monies to trickle down national malaria interventions to the village level.

The aim of this funding was to ensure that at least 80 percent of people living in malaria prone counties were equipped with knowledge on prevention and treatment of malaria.

Concentrating efforts to Kuria East and West in Migori County, KeNAAM strove to achieve this by strengthening advocacy, communication and social mobilisation capacities for malaria control. Increasing community members knowledge on prevention and treatment of malaria involves utilising various techniques to get sensitize the public on the ongoing threat of malaria in the high risk areas.

The greatest source of malaria information for community members is gathered from the CHWs, hence vital that they acquire relevant and up to date information on diagnosis, prevention and treatment of this disease. To this end, KeNAAM oversaw the training of 120 CHWs on Community Health Strategies and another 240 on Malaria Case Management.

KeNAAM educated the CHWs through facilitating supervision of peer-to-peer on job mentorship by arranging exchange visits between newly formed Community Health Teams, with those that were more established. The Health Management teams also supported the capacity development of the CHWs.

Community dialogues and field days were conducted to engage the residents in barazas (forums) where they discussed malaria related issues. These discussions were guided by the indicators outlined in the Ministry of Health tool, also known as the “chalkboard”. KeNAAM supported 17 community health units to organize these events, with discussions being facilitated by the CHWs, to ensure focus was on malaria. The community members brainstormed on the problematic areas in addressing malaria and proposed solutions to deal with the identified challenges.

During the subsequent Health and Action Days, the communities would review the previous problems raised and assess how well the measures they had proposed worked in order to inform future strategies.

KeNAAM also supported the Divisional Health Days which brought together different stakeholders with a view of increasing awareness on the importance of immunization and to integrate malaria in other health interventions.

In collaboration with the communities, KeNAAM helped organize three medial camps where a total of 875 community members were tested for HIV and malaria. The Community Health Workers demonstrated to the participants how easy it is to be tested for these conditions. During the medical camps, KeNAAM was able to introduce the rapid testing for malaria which increased their acceptance of this tool during household visits.

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