Moomba Chiefdom, a remote area in the Southern Province, is 300 km from Livingstone. Moomba Rural Health Centre is 125 km from the main road, tracks are mainly sandy, others are clay, which makes the area inaccessible during the rainy season.
There is a high prevalence of malaria in the region, last year 46% of the population contracted malaria, the highest figures in the Kazungula District. In 2017, a request for assistance was made to The Butterfly Tree by the Zambian Ministry of Health.
The following activities took place:
July 2017 – four members from The Butterfly Tree drove to Moomba Rural Health Centre to access the situation and to distribute mosquito nets to meet the government’s shortfall.
November 2017 – six days training of volunteers, application of paint using an insecticidal coating, dispersal of larvicide granules.
The team comprised of two Environmental Technologists, one is also a volunteer for The Butterfly Tree, ten community volunteers and two further volunteers from The Butterfly Tree.
A total of 600 structures were painted with insecticidal coating, in six out of fourteen zones. All health posts throughout the Chiefdom were covered. Once a mosquito lands on the surface it will fly off and die. Larvicide granules were placed in all areas where there is stagnant water, pools and streams. These were identified as breeding grounds for mosquitos. The larvicide is used to prohibit the larva from developing into mosquitos. It is not harmful to the environment, and both products are harmless to humans, animals and fish.
The Ministry of Health are closely monitoring the project.
December 2017 – five days were spent coating an additional 631 structures in six further zones. Granules had been previously distributed in all fourtenn zones.
We are pleased to announce that we now have a donation to do a further distribution in the two remaining zones. It is hoped that this will be done in the next week, subject to accessibility. Once this has been implemented Moomba Chiefdom will be in a unique position, with universal coverage, aiming to prevent new cases of malaria and helping to save lives.
A WHO Consultant visited Mukuni Rural Health Centre, where we started using the intervention in November 2015. The Consultant wanted to learn more about the success we have experienced and why such a small charity as The Butterfly Tree has achieved so much in the field of malaria prevention. This is due to continual funding of mosquito nets, malaria prevention workshops and most recently the new initiative. It is also as a result of having a dedicated team of volunteers, most especially Stain Musungaila and Sibeso Maseka, who manage this programme in Zambia, and to our generous donors, without them, none of this could have happened.
- Accessibility and condition of roads and tracks. Only 100 km is a good road, 75km is on roads with deep potholes, and from the main road Moomba Health Centre it is 125 km and is mostly sand, which is deep in some areas. Several of the outreach villages are a further 45km from the health centre.
- Distance between villages and from Moomba Health Centre.
- Temperatures soaring 40 degrees in November and December.
- Insufficient funds to provide protection for two zones.
- Every household welcomed the intervention., with 100% acceptance. The normal use of Indoor Residual Spraying, using harmful chemicals, is often refused by a percentage of community members.
- Positive feedback is already showing an improvement. January to June is the peak time for malaria. To date no new cases of malaria have been reported in the areas of application.
- Cases have been reported in the two zones, which were not covered.
A further donation, received this week, will be used to cover areas of Mukuni Chiefdom as it is over two years since the first application was made.
Next month we aim to start the programme in Nyawa Chiefdom by coating structures in two villages and larviciding. We have recently donated funds to purchase 800 mosquito nets for Nyawa Rural Health’s Centre’s shortfall.
Many thanks to everyone, namely St James Place Foundation, North Worcester, Stratford-upon-Avon and North Bournemouth Rotary Clubs, Inner Wheel Clubs, Nick Bou-sliman, and all the individuals who have helped us to make a small, but significant difference in the fight against malaria.