Improving the performance of COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERs
London, 13th January 2010: Malaria Consortium has received a $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to demonstrate how government-led integrated community case management (iCCM) programmes can be scaled-up, leading to a sustained increase in the proportion of children with diarrhoea and other common diseases receiving appropriate treatment.
“Malaria Consortium is excited to have secured this important grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Dr James Tibenderana, Director Case Management for Malaria Consortium. “We estimate that each year diarrhoea causes about 30,000 and 36,000 deaths in children aged under five years in Mozambique and Uganda respectively, where this project will be implemented. This grant will give us the opportunity to prevent some of these deaths which is a responsibility we take very seriously.”
A crucial element in attaining this goal is to gain a better understanding of community based agents’ (CBAs) motivation and attrition, and find workable solutions to their retention and performance. This is essential if iCCM implementation is to be successful on a national scale.
Health systems in resource-poor countries are often unable to scale up essential child health interventions, so many are strengthening their human resource capacity by investing in CBAs to deliver lifesaving treatment to children suffering from these common but deadly diseases. CBAs are tasked with increasing timely and appropriate in the community treatment using high-quality medicines.
While there are many advantages to using CBAs, evidence to date has revealed that their effectiveness is severely hampered by limited community involvement, shortages of medicines, shortfalls in training materials and a lack of refresher training and supervision. The data collected by CBAs is also underutilised. These factors all contribute to low activity levels and lack of motivation of CBAs.
Malaria Consortium, as the lead agency, will build on established operations and excellent relations with the Ministries of Health in Mozambique and Uganda, as well as other key national and international partners. It will manage a partnership combining expertise in research, communications and information technology, including the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University College London Centre for International Health and Development, Straight Talk Foundation, N’Weti and Software Factory.
This five-year project will complement the work recently started by Malaria Consortium through a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funded project in four countries, including Uganda and Mozambique. While the CIDA project will carefully measure the impact of interventions, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded programme will add implementation research and activities to promote uptake of iCCM to 50% coverage in both countries.