Update on the School Pathways to Malaria Project: Teacher Training!

Last year, while visiting schools in Uganda, Dr Andrew Macnab noticed that in every school between 10% to 20% of the children were absent due to Malaria. The staff confirmed that these numbers were normal. Malaria kills around 1 million children a year in Sub-Saharan Africa and accounts for many days of lost schooling and diminished academic skills in countless children. There is a simple and inexpensive method of testing and treating malaria using kits called RDT/ACT  but few children in Africa have access to this as their families cannot reach the clinics- either through poverty or distance to travel. A solution to this problem is to provide this treatment through the schools. We are partnering in a study that will  train teachers how to identify children with fever, test them for malaria, and treat them with medication. This has never been done before in Uganda. We have the support of the Ministry of Health and if it is shown to be successful, this study could open the door for children across Uganda to have fast identification and treatment of malaria. By quickly receiving treatment the children will get less sick, be less infectious and therefore less likely to spread the disease to other children and recover more quickly and miss less school days.

The School Pathways to Malaria Prevention (SP2MP) study is a malaria prevention project funded by The Hillman Medical Education Fund of Rose Charities Canada. The SP2MP project is currently being implemented in four elementary schools in southwestern Uganda. Recently, teachers from each of the schools participated in a training workshop where they learned how to:

  • Identify, test and treat children suffering from malaria using Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) and Artemesin Combination Therapy (ACT)
  • collect the necessary information/data during the study
  • compile reports and help in the data collection from their various schools

Teachers were given a pre and post Behavior and Knowledge Self Assessment before and after the workshop. At the beginning of the workshop, 80% of the teachers failed this test (scoring below 50%), while after the training was completed, ALL of the teachers scored a passing grade. In addition of the teachers surveyed from the four participant schools:

  • 95% of  them indicated a willingness to draw blood from their students as part of the RDT
  • 100% of them indicated a willingness to volunteer to take the 5 hours training on how to diagnose and treat malaria
  • 100% of them indicated a willingness to volunteer 30 minutes per day to test and treat students for malaria

RDT photo Participants carrying out a malaria RDT life cycle malaria photo Participants learning about the Life Cycle of the Malaria Parasite HMEF wants to thank HEADA Uganda for their role on the ground coordinating the SP2MP teacher training!

If you would like to support this project, please click on the link below and select “Hillman Fund” from the fund drop-down. Thank-you for your support!

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