By Joseph S. Ansumanah
World Vision Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has ended a two-day technical training for Peer Supervisors on Rapid Diagnosis Test (RDT) and Malaria Treatment in Kono.
The aim of the workshop was to train peer supervisors on how to properly use RDT and also how to treat people with malaria in their various communities.
In his power point presentation, The Country Health Advisor, World Vision International, Saffa Andrew Koroma educated the peer supervisors on Health Nutrition Model which includes the Timed and Targeted Counselling (TTC).
The TTC mean, the time you will provide the information, which kind of information and at what time.
He informed that TTC is divided into two folds which are the 7-11 strategy for Health and Nutrition model. The 7 strategy is the core intervention for pregnant women and the 11 core interventions are for children from 0 to 24 months.
Highlighting the objectives of TTC, he said it provides an integrated platform for 7-11 strategy at households, bring behaviour change communication into households, increase access to services through demand creation and promotion care seeking behaviour, strengthen community health systems, strengthen the links between households and the formal health system and empower the family to monitor their own progress.
Speaking on the 7 strategy for pregnant women, he said that CHWs should sensitize pregnant women to have adequate diet, to take their iron/folate supplement and deworming, infectious disease prevention, malaria prevention, adding that peer supervisors have a role to always educate pregnant women on healthy timely and spacing of pregnancy, birth preparedness and access to quality maternal health services.
On the 11 strategy, he said CHWs should also educate pregnant women on the importance of exclusive breast-feeding to the new-born, , adequate diet, adequate iron, essential new-born care, full immunisation for age, hand washing with soap, oral rehydration therapy, prevention, care seeking and treatment for acute respiratory infection and malaria, prevention, care seeking and treatment for acute malnutrition and prevention, care seeking and treatment for acute treatment for paediatric HIV and deworming (+12 months).
He emphasized that the messages of peer supervisors should base round the 7/11 strategy core interventions.
In his power point presentation, Philip Brewah, National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation informed that Malaria is endemic in Sierra Leone with stable and perennial transmission in all parts of the country.
He said that malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Despite being preventable and treatable, malaria continues to have a devastating impact on people’s health and livelihoods. He noted that the entire populace is at risk of the disease.
He estimated that about 2,240,000 outpatient visits are due to malaria every year, of which about 1,000,000 patients are under five years old.
He showcased that pregnant women and children under five years old constitute 4.4% and 17.7% respectively and Sierra Leone has one of the highest burdens of the disease and malaria prevalence is almost two times higher in rural areas (49%) than in urban areas (25%).
Peer Supervisors were cautioned not to treat pregnant women and children below 2 months, but to refer to the health facility.
During the workshop, Peer Supervisors were trained on how to properly use the Rapid Diagnosis Test (RDT). RDT for malaria is useful in areas where there is no laboratory; health centres, dispensaries, communities etc.
It is a component of diagnostic strategy to confirm malaria. RDT are simple and fast ways to test for malaria and it is more accurate than presumptive diagnosis and it gives result in about 15-20 minutes, so a patient will start treatment right away if the result is positive.
RDT helps to detect patients who do not have malaria so that the patient can receive correct treatment. RDT need blood and a chemical called “buffer.”
The facilitators told CHWs that too much or too little blood or buffer can cause the test to give an invalid result, adding that blood and buffer in the wrong place can also cause an invalid result.
The Facilitators also taught the CHWS on the common mistakes made by them in conducting RDT.
The facilitators informed people to be tested and treated by CHWs are adults excluding pregnant women.