In Guinea-Bissau, malaria is an endemic disease with stable transmission and high prevalence, which nearly doubles during and just after the rainy season from June to November. Since 2016, the country has been implementing the Seasonal Malaria Chimio Prevention strategy developed by the World Health Organisation for children under 5 years old in the regions of Bafatá and Gabú which have the highest malaria caseload, by administering the anti-malaria SMC drugs for 3 days per month for 4 months during the rainy season. The evaluations of the campaigns show significant reduction of malaria cases in children less than 5 years old. In 2020, the campaign was expanded to 1 continental region (Tombali) and 2 island regions (Bijagos and Bolama). A total of over 120,000 children will be reached in these 5 regions starting the 1st week of August and will benefit from the 3 doses of antimalarial drugs per month, for the 4 months of the rainy season, to protect them from malaria.
Every year UNDP Guinea Bissau supports the Ministry of Health’s National Malaria Control Program (PNLP) in the planning, roll-out, and supervision of Community Health Workers, who conduct the campaign. Pre COVID-19, the campaigns were organized in fixed and mobile distribution points in communities. With the COVID-19 pandemic several innovations were introduced including the replacement of fixed and mobile posts with door-to-door visits to reach families with children under 5 years, administration of each dose of medicines by the parents directly and observed by the community health worker, while complying with COVID-19 physical distancing, personal protective and hygiene measures.
This month, the team from UNDP Guinea-Bissau’s Health Cluster’s Global Fund Project embarked on a field mission to Gabu to initiate support to the Directorate of Regional Health Services in elaborating a micro-plan for its 19 health districts for the 2021 SMC campaign. The team were able to train participants, including staff of the Regional Health Directorate and those responsible for Health Districts on microplanning, as well as provide support to finalizing the list of the region's needs (human, material, logistical, financial resources) for the campaign.
More trainings will be held in July, including training of trainers in Central Levels for the 14th to 15th July, training of those Heads of Health Districts (RAS) at the Regional Level from the 22nd to 23 July, training of Community Health Workers in the communities they serve from the 25th to 27th July, and finally, training on social mobilization and logistical management from 28th to 30th July.