On World Malaria Day: Education, Prevention and Treatment

If malaria is preventable, why does this disease remain a major killer of children under age five?

To answer that troublesome question, ChildFund has formed collaborative partnerships within the international community. In Senegal, we lead a consortium of organizations (Africare, Catholic Relief Services, Counterpart International, Plan and World Vision) in the implementation of a malaria-focused USAID-funded Community Health Project.

A health hut in Senegal.

This program uses community-based maternal and child health services to prevent and treat malaria cases. Although this effort involves significant distribution of medicine, it also offers disease-prevention education through ChildFund’s “Health Huts” program.

Established networks of community volunteers support more than 1,300 health huts. As a result, malaria-prevention programs have now reached more than 4 million people, including nearly 800,000 children under age five.

At a concert attended by 15,000 last fall, Youssou N'Dour urges action in the fight against malaria. Photo: (c) Catherine Karnow/Malaria No More

To reach an even larger audience, ChildFund Senegal is partnering with Senegalese Grammy-winning singer Youssou N’Dour, who has established the Youssou N’Dour Foundation aimed at combating malaria. N’Dour, a leading advocate for the U.S.-based nonprofit Malaria No More, has written a song titled, “Xeex Sibbiru,” which means “fight malaria.” The popular song has become the centerpiece of a “360-degree” education and advocacy campaign that is now sweeping Senegal.

ChildFund Senegal staff and its partners are incorporating the song into malaria education sessions to build awareness of disease prevention. As a result, children are organizing distribution of mosquito nets and initiating community cleanup campaigns to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed.

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