We’re greeted at Kyotera Primary School by head boy Clovis. He is ready to show us the work his school is doing to equip its pupils with the knowledge and skills to fight malaria in their community. The school is one of many being supported by Malaria Consortium through USAID’s Malaria Action Program for Districts to increase its preparedness against the disease.
Clovis serves as our tour guide as we look around the classrooms and play areas, joined by head teacher Mr Ssentume, who has ensured malaria education is being provided for children in each year group.
One class is reciting best practices to deal with malaria-carrying mosquitoes as we arrive. As the teacher asks for answers via raised hands, the children’s eyes scan around the room searching for hints from the malaria messages that have been placed on the walls by their teacher.
The classes adjourn for the morning assembly held out in the yard between the school buildings. This is a special assembly, organised to showcase a performance from the school’s health club. Clovis and his fellow health club members have been taking part in extra-curricular activities about malaria prevention, led by their teacher, Ms Nakimera. They have learnt new facts about the disease, how it can affect them and how to communicate this knowledge through drama, poetry and speech.
The assembly begins with a drama skit. The performance follows a girl in the community who does not have a mosquito net. The community realise and come together to find a new net; they give it to the girl and show her how to put it up around her bed, so she is protected when she sleeps. This skit reinforces the knowledge that the children have learned, and encourages them to be aware of malaria in their own communities and to pass on their knowledge to others whenever they can. All pupils are also issued with a net to take home.
Clovis then takes centre stage to recite his speech about the threat of malaria. Watch Clovis delivering his speech below.
The school health club is made possible by the hard work of Ms Nakimera, who has been trained by the Malaria Action Programs for Districts and equipped with the materials to organise the malaria messages in classrooms. She has also been trained to help the children organise skits and write poetry to raise awareness of the disease.
“Here at Kyotera Primary, we first sensitised the teachers about malaria and then worked on how we could communicate messages about malaria in all classes,” Ms Nakimera said. “We then began distributing nets to pupils and showing them how to use them, and other knowledge such as ensuring they sleep under the nets at night and passing their knowledge to others.”
Malaria Consortium leads USAID’s Malaria Action Program for Districts across 43 districts in Uganda to protect and improve the health of vulnerable mothers, babies and children. You can learn more about the project here.