International development organisation Transaid’s highly successful MAMaZ Against Malaria project is to expand to cover 10 districts in rural Zambia in 2021 – reaching up to a million more people at risk of severe malaria. The project is being undertaken with the financial support of Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) and the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
Initially conceived as a pilot in December 2017, this marks the third phase of the project which has dramatically reduced severe malaria mortality in children under six. This has been achieved through implementing an innovative bicycle ambulance system for patients in need of urgent care, improving access to key medicines, effective community engagement and ensuring a functioning drug supply chain.
Between April and October 2020, 1,241 children were transported by bicycle ambulance to a healthcare facility for potentially life-saving treatment in rural Zambia.
As a result of the new funding Transaid will bring its MAMaZ Against Malaria programme to five new districts (Kasama, Mansa, Mwinilunga, Petauke, and a fifth to be confirmed next year), develop its work in three existing districts (Chama, Manyinga & Vubwi) and continue to support both Chitambo and Serenje. This will see emergency transport systems and a network of community health volunteers (CHVs), trained to mobilise communities and raise awareness of severe malaria and how to respond, put in place across each new area.
CHVs will be equipped to intervene when severe malaria danger signs are recognised, to ensure that young children can quickly access appropriate medicines at a community level and are then promptly referred to a healthcare facility to receive further treatment – usually in the form of an injectable artesunate.
This will all be carried out alongside the ongoing work in the project’s existing districts, in partnership with Zambia’s National Malaria Elimination Centre, the Ministry of Health and district health management teams.
Caroline Barber, CEO of Transaid, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with our partners to expand our MAM at Scale programme into more than 1,000 communities, and ensure that more children have access to life-saving services and medicines when they need it most.
“A child with severe malaria has a 90 per cent chance of dying if they do not get to a health facility in time – so this project is absolutely vital and will help embed the innovation within government structures and systems.
“It is also more important than ever to ensure that progress doesn’t stall in the fight against malaria as a result of COVID-19. Malaria doesn’t respect borders, so to be able to extend our reach into more districts is going to result in many more lives saved. It’s a major step forward as we continue to support the Ministry of Health with their goal of full country-wide scale up.”
For the last six months the project’s technical focus on severe malaria was pivoted to include a focus on COVID-19 prevention and response. The COVID-19 activities were undertaken as an integrated part of ongoing malaria activities with funding from the FIA Foundation, GCC and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).
For more information and to find out how you can support the organisation visit www.transaid.org.