Women Pioneer Antimalaria Efforts in Benin

Apr 2009
Diane's participation in the IRS campaign opens a new social dimension for female leaders in combating malaria in Benin.
Diane Sagbohan is one of a handful of female spray operators who are contributing to IRS operations in Benin. Source: RTI

Diane Sagbohan is one of only six female spray operators among the 265 spray operators who participated in Benin's first IRS campaign in three decades. Diane is from Sèmè-Kpodji, one of the four communes selected for spray operations during 2008 and known for high rates of malaria transmission.

Diane, a 23-year-old mother of a two-year-old boy, works as a clerk typist. Despite the fact that spray operators for IRS campaigns are mostly men from her community, she was eager to join this effort against malaria. When asked what motivated her to become a spray operator, Diane responded that it was an exceptional opportunity to participate in the fight against malaria, the most common disease in her village and the disease that most people die from. "I feel valued and useful to my community by taking part in the IRS campaign," she stated, and concluded that she was "motivated and ready to participate in the next campaign."

Diane's participation in the IRS campaign opens a new social dimension for female leaders in combating malaria in Benin. In her community, she is viewed as a pioneer and an example for others to change their behavior and adopt practices to prevent malaria. The participation of Diane and other women will help raise awareness about malaria and induce behavior change in their communities.

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