London — Malaria Consortium South Sudan received an award for "operational excellence in a difficult environment" at the 2013 Alliance for Malaria Prevention Partner's Meeting in Geneva earlier this month.
As a global partnership of more than 40 organisations currently working in malaria prevention and control, the Alliance for Malaria Prevention (AMP) supports the scaling-up of long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to maintain universal coverage targets, including mass distribution campaigns and improving continuous distribution channels.
As a member of the AMP, Malaria Consortium has participated in key efforts to develop and share best practice, lessons learned and recommendations for malaria control and prevention through LLIN distribution, reviewing net durability and effective care and repair.
In 2011 in Lainya County, Central Equatoria State, Republic of South Sudan, as part of a shared commitment to malaria prevention, Malaria Consortium and its partners in the region began a LLIN continuous distribution pilot study aimed at testing a sustainable method, through community networks, of replacing nets in households where they may have been destroyed, damaged or lacking.
On receiving the award, Malaria Consortium South Sudan project coordinator, Lisa Woods said: "Getting this award is exciting as it is crucial the international malaria community acknowledge the importance of operational research in difficult environments. This meeting has also provided an opportunity for positive reflection on the operational challenges that we have faced and overcome, during the implementation of this pilot."
Malaria Consortium, with support from the Republic of South Sudan Ministry of Health, USAID through 'NetWorks' and DfID, began preparations for a LLIN continuous distribution pilot in October 2011 to test whether universal coverage can be maintained through a continuous a LLIN distribution system. The system keeps mosquito nets in the community at all times, in storage units established in Primary Health Care Centres/Units including rural hard-to-reach areas and uses a 'pull system' to ensure storage facilities never run out of stock.
Community members receive net coupons from community level health workers - Net Coupon Holders - who are posted throughout the county at specified times. Coupon recipients can redeem from PHCC/Us during normal operational hours. Based on current figures, coupon redemption is at 92 percent, which has already exceeded expected targets of 80 percent.
Following the award, Malaria Consortium gave a presentation focusing on the operational challenges of developing effective continuous LLIN distribution channels in complex environments, sharing best practice and lessons learned from the pilot so far.
In South Sudan, an estimated 70% of the population living in endemic areas is at risk of contracting malaria. Malaria accounts for 20-40% of morbidity and over 20%of mortality seen at health facilities (South Sudan Malaria Indicator Survey, 2009). Currently, the most common malaria prevention strategy is the mass distribution of LLINs.
Malaria Consortium is a leading global non-profit organisation dedicated to the comprehensive control of malaria and other communicable diseases and to the promotion of child health in Africa and Southeast Asia. We work with communities, local and international governmental and non-governmental agencies and academic institutions, in all aspects of malaria control from policy and strategy development to implementation, monitoring and evaluation and operational research. Malaria Consortium also works toward the control of other communicable diseases, including tuberculosis, diarrhoea and neglected tropical diseases.