Despite significant malaria prevention and control progress in recent years, malaria – called paludisme in French – continues to be the leading cause of illness and death in Guinea. More than 2.3 million cases of malaria were reported in this West African country in 2021 alone, with children and pregnant women being particularly vulnerable to contracting it. As part of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the USAID StopPalu+ project operated in half of Guinea’s 38 districts and 5 communes of Conakry to help the country drive down its malaria rates.
RTI Led Malaria Prevention and Control Efforts
By building on five years of progress achieved under the RTI-led USAID StopPalu project, StopPalu+ was able to quickly get to work to:
- Increase use of long-lasting insecticidal nets (bed nets) to advance universal coverage
- Increase use of preventive malaria treatments for pregnant women during antenatal care visits (ANC)
- Increase prompt care-seeking and treatment among those infected with malaria
- Increase the number of children receiving a timely, full dose of seasonal malaria chemoprevention
- Increase community involvement in and support for malaria prevention and care
- Improve the capacity of Guinea’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to manage, implement, and monitor prevention, care, and treatment activities while using quality data for decision-making
The malaria prevention and control project aimed to not only help Guinea fight malaria today, but build capacity at all levels to prevent, monitor, and treat it in the future too. By engaging communities and building local capacity, StopPalu+ ensured the gains it helped Guinea make today will last.
A Local Approach to Preventing, Monitoring and Treating Malaria
To help Guinea achieve its national goal of reducing malaria by 75%, StopPalu+ partnered with local health providers and governments to provide training, tools, and support. The project trained community health workers on home visits, community case management (diagnosis, treatment, and referral of severe cases), and correct use of bed nets. It also helped local governments conduct seasonal chemoprevention and bed net distribution campaigns.
With training from the project, health providers improved case management and treatment and integrated counseling on bed nets and preventive malaria treatments during pregnancy into healthcare visits. Training and support have also helped labs improve their detection and monitoring of malaria infections.
As a result, since 2018 local governments and health providers in the PMI zone have:
- Delivered 6 million bed nets to communities
- Correctly diagnosed and treated malaria in nearly 2 million people
- Given 3.7 million doses of preventive medicine to protect 300,000+ young children each year
- Protected more than 500,000 pregnant women from malaria
StopPalu+ complemented this support with creative, multi-channel social and behavior change communication (SBCC) activities that leveraged the influence and authority of community and religious leaders to spread awareness of malaria prevention and encouraged people to seek early treatment when infected.
- Engaged 1,000 religious leaders to regularly spread messages about the importance and proper use of bed nets.
- Featured local community and religious leaders – both women and men – in radio and television broadcasts about malaria.
- Engaged two well-known comedians in the country to produce radio and TV broadcasts on the importance of proper bed net use within the COVID-19 context.
- Organized more than 2,300 community dialogues and advocacy meetings on malaria and other health issues, such as COVID-19.