The method of going door to door allows us to gauge the level of contentment that the parents have with the job that we have done. “We observed how the seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) program impacts the economic power of a family in addition to the health gain,” said Yahaya Assoumane. “This was quite an eye opener for us.”
Two community health workers, Yahaya and his colleague Ramatou Mahamadou, make up an SMC campaign team in the Koré Mairoua region of Tibiri, Niger. Yahaya and Ramatou Mahamadou both work in community health. SMC initiatives are put into action by the national malaria control program in Niger, with assistance from the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) of the United States of America via PMI Impact Malaria.
The goal of these campaigns is to protect children under the age of five. During the rainy season, when the risk of contracting malaria is highest due to increased transmission rates, people in this age range are protected from contracting the disease due to preventative SMC efforts.
Yahaya and Ramatou are part of a distribution team in Niger that is among hundreds that are responsible for making SMC campaigns a reality. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents would bring their children to health clinics or other specially designated distribution facilities in order to get prophylactic malaria medications for them.
Distribution teams such as Yahaya and Ramatou go to the people instead of people going to them. It helps in reducing big crowds and the efforts to save lives continue that way. They go from home to home to provide prophylactic malaria medication to children and to offer information to parents about the appropriate dosage and administration of the medication.
Recently, Yahaya and Ramatou went to see Farida Amadou at her house. Farida is a mother of three children, two of whom are less than five years old. ‘I am very glad that my children had this therapy, and I saw how essential these medications were because thanks are to God, my children did not catch malaria last year,’ Farida told them. ‘I am extremely happy that my children received this treatment, and I saw how vital these drugs were.’
Farida also discussed the ways in which her family benefits from SMC initiatives since they help keep her children healthy. According to what Farida has to say on the matter, “…if the children do not become sick, we will be able to carry out our agricultural activities and preserve our resources, which are already inadequate.”
Our children are healthier, and we all have more time to farm our fields in order to have enough food to care for them as a result of the time we save, thanks to the SMC.
During SMC campaigns, Yahaya and Ramatou have the potential to visit the homes of up to eighty youngsters in a single day. Over 1.2 million children in Niger were provided with vital medications via PMI Impact Malaria-supported SMC programs in the previous year. These medicines will keep these children safe from malaria throughout the rainy season.