Prevention and Treatment of Malaria at the Community Level in Mali

Oct 2013
Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Dagnon and other community health agents, Malians in rural areas are able to access health services closer to home.
Mamoutou Dagnon, a community health agent, with the drugs and other supplies he uses to do his work. Source: Save the Children

Mamoutou Dagnon, a 35-year-old community health agent (CHA), lives with his wife and six-year-old son in the Kéléya Health Zone, which is located in Sikasso Region, in southern Mali. Through a pilot project in this region, CHAs have begun to provide health care at the community level.

In 2010, Mr. Dagnon attended a 12-day training on the management of uncomplicated malaria cases followed by a training on Essential Community Care one year later. Upon completion of this training, he was posted to Shiembougou Village, seven kilometers from the nearest community health center. In addition to Shiembougou, Mr. Dagnon covers three satellite villages, with a total population of more than 5,000 people. The community members of Shiembougou welcomed him warmly and provided him with a two-room home for his family, and a two-room consultation center.

Mamoutou Dagnon on the bicycle he uses to commute to the villages in his catchment area. Source: Save the ChildrenMr. Dagnon is well-equipped to carry out his tasks. He collects and reports data in a timely and comprehensive fashion, which ensures that he has an appropriate supply of malaria drugs and family planning products for his patients. He diagnoses malaria using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), treats uncomplicated cases with artemisinin-based combination therapy drugs (ACTs), and refers severe cases to the community health center. He also conducts outreach sessions to inform the community members about his services. From April to June 2012, Mr. Dagnon managed 15 cases of uncomplicated malaria, 4 cases of diarrhea, 10 cases of acute respiratory infections, and 2 cases of moderate acute malnutrition. He also referred four cases associated with severe malaria, severe acute malnutrition, and pneumonia.

In general, the number of sick children accessing CHA services is relatively low due, in part, to families’ adoption of preventative health behaviors, such as consistently sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets and improved hygiene and sanitation. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Dagnon and other community health agents, Malians in rural areas are able to access health services closer to home.

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