KELC Launches Phase II of LWR Malaria/HIV and AIDS Project
By Candise Heinlein
KELC Malaria/HIV and AIDS Coordinator introduces the project.
In Malindi 12–15 January 2010, KELC launched Phase II of the Lutheran World Relief (LWR) Malaria/HIV and AIDS project entitled “Improving Lutheran Response to HIV/AIDS and Malaria in Kenya.” This project follows up on the initiatives implemented in Phase I, “Institutionalizing and Responding to HIV/AIDS in KELC Congregations,” from January 2004 to December 2006 and adds additional focus on responding to malaria in Kenya. Piggybacking on the global Lutheran Malaria Initiative, Phase II will focus 60% of its efforts on malaria and 40% on HIV and AIDS from November 2009 to December 2012. This project is a joint effort between KELC and its sister church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK). KELC will concentrate efforts in eastern Kenya and ELCK in western Kenya. At this project launch, KELC Malaria and HIV/AIDS Coordinator Darius Nyamai conducted a training workshop for pastors and parish mobilization teams. Jeffrey Osoi, KELC Field Coordinator based in Mombasa, will assist Nyamai in the implementation of Phase II.
Whereas the primary purpose of Phase I was to build the capacity of KELC as a whole to meet the needs of people living with HIV and AIDS and those affected by HIV, the primary purpose of Phase II is to improve access to and utilization of malaria and HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment measures among 7 focus KELC congregations, specifically among children, pregnant women, and people living with HIV and AIDS. The 7 malaria-prone areas chosen for concentration in this project are Kambu, Malindi, Mombasa, Lunga Lunga, Tana River, Hola Wenje, and Ukambani.
A recent evaluation showed that only 20% of people in Kenya were accessing available malaria resources and only 50% were using insecticide-treated nets (ITNs). Therefore, the two main objectives of Phase II are (1) to improve care-seeking behavior within KELC and (2) to strengthen KELC capacity to advocate for prevention and treatment of malaria and HIV and AIDS. The expected outcome of the project is increased care-seeking behavior among 100% of the 7 project congregations in KELC through church-led mobilization, health linkages, and heightened awareness.
The January workshop included presentations by David Rotich, LWR East Africa representative, and by representatives of the Malindi health community. Mr. Rotich gave a brief overview of the project, stating that malaria represents 30% of all outpatient treatment, 20% of inpatient treatment, and 72 deaths per day, or 3 deaths per hour. This is the rationale for devoting 60% of Phase II to malaria prevention. Dr. Hussein, Malindi district medical officer, briefly introduced the health facilities and initiatives in the Malindi area. Government policies regarding HIV and AIDS and prevalence, prevention, and treatment of HIV and AIDS were the topics of the presentation by Ms. Maimuna of the District AIDS Coordinating Committee (DASCO). The Disease Surveillance Coordinator Mr. Mwangani provided instruction on the cause, prevention, and treatment of malaria as well as the government policies related to malaria. Finally, Mr. Matole, the Malaria Focal Person for Malindi, demonstrated the proper treatment of a mosquito net using government-distributed insecticide treatment kits. This workshop was the first step in the project implementation.
The second step in the implementation of Phase II involved linking key executive KELC staff with government malaria officials and LWR representatives. A meeting was held 10 February in Nairobi between key KELC staff, David Rotich and Anastasia Mulwa of LWR, and Christine Mbuli of the Kenya Ministry for Public Health and Sanitation’s Division of Malaria Control (DOMC). Ms. Mbuli gave an overview of the government malaria control program. The vision of the National Malaria Control Program is a concerted effort to produce a malaria-free Kenya by 2030. The current goal is to reduce morbidity and mortality by 2/3 of the 2007/2008 level by 2017. They are using four interventions to accomplish this goal: (1) Case management: every person presenting in a health facility with a fever is tested and treated for malaria; (2) vector control: use of long-lasting ITNs, indoor residual spraying (IRS) in epidemic-prone areas, and covering of water areas with chemicals to kill mosquito larvae; (3) intermittent pregnancy treatment: 2 doses of SP during pregnancy; and (4) training of health care workers. Every three years, the government conducts a mass distribution of ITNs; this year is the next scheduled distribution. The government also provides free testing and malaria treatment drugs. Two other interventions that cut across the four primary interventions involve advocacy and operational research. The Division for Malaria Control is working with faith-based organizations to accomplish advocacy interventions and welcomes collaboration.
In a question and answer session, Ms. Mbuli was informed that community health workers do not have the ability to diagnose malaria at their level and was asked if the government would consider allowing them to make diagnoses. Ms. Mbuli stated that there is a plan to facilitate community workers with rapid diagnosis kits and that organizations just need to provide work plans showing what areas are involved and what materials are needed.
The HIV/AIDS Coordinator and the KELC Communications Department are working closely with the DOMC for preparations of World Malaria Day. Future KELC project steps involve malaria training for Sunday School teachers, development of work plans for each parish mobilization team, preparations for World AIDS Day, and production of IEC materials.