Under its preventive health services program, the leadership of the Lutheran Church in Liberia Malaria Program (LCLMP) continues to employ various measures in expanding its malaria prevention awareness campaign in rural communities, mainly in central Liberia.
The prevalence rate of malaria parasitemia in children across the region is put at 62 percent, according to the Ministry of Health 2016 Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS).
Through funding support from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Lutheran Church in Liberia Malaria Program currently implements its malaria prevention project in ten catchment communities in Bong County using different communication channels and a chain of Community Health Volunteers (CHV) to convey malaria preclusion messages among the local population.
According to the LCL Malaria Program Coordinator, Sue Larmouth Gaye-Korgba, component of the project focuses on advocacy training where community members are provided skills to initiate local advocacy on malaria prevention in their localities to continue beyond the project lifespan as part of the sustainability strategy and building ownership among community residents to develop the resilience in managing their own healthcare.
"We are also involved with the establishment of school health clubs in all ten project communities where students lead malaria prevention awareness and sensitization campaigns on various campuses and communities. The focus of these campaigns has been mainly to increase responsiveness among the locals on the right usage and maintenance of the mosquito nets we normally distribute to prevent malaria," Madam Korgba said.
According to her, under the malaria prevention project, community malaria prevention committees have been established in all ten communities targeted by the project involving various community stakeholders, including women and youth representation.
"These committees lead periodic community clean-up and awareness activities to keep their environment safe from malaria prevalence. As a result of these community-driven sanitary activities, we are now realizing considerable decline of malaria related illnesses being reported at health facilities within the location of our project, mainly in Kpai District, Bong County," Madam Korgba said.
According to her, since the inception of the project second phase in 2017, more than 4,000 persons have directly benefited from the malaria prevention campaigns through peer education, school health club activities, community health committee, big belleh club, distribution of treated mosquito nets, provision of malaria prevention fliers, and support to health facilities within the project area.
As a means of keeping community residents engaged with regular conversation around malaria prevention and other diseases to keep the network of community health committees active beyond the project implementation period, Madam Korgba said the program also piloted the establishment of five Village Savings Loan Associations (VSLA) in Gbonota and Hindii, Lower Bong County, as well as Millsburg, Mount Barclay and #7 Kingsville, located in rural Montserrado County.
According to Madam Korgba, each VSLA group has 30 persons membership, and 150 persons are direct beneficiaries of the revolving financial scheme.
Meanwhile, catchment communities that are directly being impacted by the LCL integrated malaria prevention program continue to laud the church for the public health intervention that is "helping to curb the prevalence rate of malaria."
The 2016 Health Facility Survey (HFS), the most recent such study, found that malaria remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, accounting for about 42 percent of all clinical consultations and 44 percent of all inpatient deaths among children under five years of age.
The Ministry of Health's Joint Annual Health Sector Review Report of 2016 indicated that malaria services were mostly available and provided by 97 percent of the health facilities across the country.