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Consultation workshop for CSOs and communities on malaria for Global Fund initiatives

Sept. 25, 2018

In January 11th, 2017, more than 30 CBOs representatives from key malaria zones in Vietnam (Binh Phuoc, Gia Lai), state agencies officials, international experts and the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) gathered in Hanoi to discuss about ending malaria epidemics  for Global Fund recommendations for the period of 2018-2020. 
 


Photo: Dr. Dang Quang Tan, deputy Head of General Department of Preventive Medicine delivering  the opening speech of the workshop


The seminar brought together people from the region severely affected by malaria (Binh Phuoc, Gia Lai) and leaders of Public Health Association; Phap Bao Center; General Department of Preventive Medicine; National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology; Representative of the Greater Mekong Subregion Coordination Unit and UNOPS to answer the question: Why the malaria infection rate has decreased by 90%, compared to 2000 but the disease is still persistent and cannot be eliminated?

The answer lies within the CBOs: the current malaria programs will not be successful without the involvement of CBOs affected by malaria. According to Louis Da Gama, member of the Greater Mekong Subregion Project Management Unit, "95% of result from the malaria control program may come from the national action program, but the other 5% that make the program successful comes from the community, including the people at risk of malaria, because they need to understand how we (the experts) are acting and why." Ms. Cao Thanh Thuy, MSc, from Clinton Health Access Initiative, after many years working in the field of malaria control, finds that the role of peer groups is very important, they are the one who know their real situation, they can supervise the process of prevention, taking medication and treatment of themselves as well as their relatives and friends.
 


Photo: Louis Da Gama, Director of the Greater Mekong Subregion coordination unit for Malaria, listens carefully to comments from CBOs members sharing their opinions of local malaria control.
 

"95% of result from the malaria control program may come from the national action program, but the other 5% that make the program successful comes from the community"
 
 Louis Da Gama, Director of the Greater Mekong Subregion coordination unit for Malaria

Representatives from key malaria regions have assisted SCDI staff during the field study and provided many useful comments for the workshop. Their comments directly reflect the effectiveness of current malaria control programs, which are useful for leaders of government agencies and foreign experts. For example: the habit of people to go to private health clinics, showing the importance of private healthcare and professional training for private clinics medical staff as well as the permission for them to provide patients with medical treatment and medicine. In addition, the community's reflection on some inadequacies in changing life habits (such as using mosquito net, wearing long sleeves when entering the forests/sleeping at the fields/migration, habits of taking medication, etc.) was also shared by the community, attracting many debates and discussion from domestic and international experts.
 

Photo: Dr. Ngo Duc Thang from the National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology, presenting the current situation and futuremeasures to prevent malaria in Vietnam.

At these initial phases, the conference received a consensus on the development of community networks. Dr. Oanh, SCDI Director, concluded: "We need to empower these community groups by listening to them, building partnerships between community groups and health services as well as other relative organizations". This workshop marked just the first stage of a long run process, but the hard work, determination and enthusiasm of all the participants are oustanding."
 


Photo: Government leaders, foreign experts, community representatives and SCDI staff at the workshop

The workshop has been initiated successfully, promising high performance in the future. According to Dr. Dang Quang Tan, deputy Head of General Department of Preventive Medicine, said: "The seminar brought together members from the community and international experts, showing the important role of CSOs." Professor Le Quy Anh also has a similar affirmation about the role of the community and social organizations in the malaria control as well as other national action programs.

 



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