"It is one thing to distribute bednets. It is another thing to use them." This comment is frequently heard in all of those areas of the world where malaria remains a serious threat.
"In the struggle against malaria, it is most important for people to be aware of the problem, for them to acknowledge the problem and for them to take charge of it." explained Mr Norbert Paniak, President of the Togolese Red Cross. We call these communities Malaria Competence.
What is Malaria Competence?
When individuals, families and communities recognise that malaria is caused by the bite of a mosquito, they take action to reduce the chance of infection and to reduce the consequences of infection.
In a Malaria Competent society, we —as people in families, in communities, in organisations and in policy making—act from strength:
- to modify our surroundings and our behaviour so that they become hostile to the mosquito,
- to protect the most vulnerable from infection,
- to recognise the symptoms of malaria,
- to respond in a timely fashion so that we access the right treatment, and
- to learn from our experience and to share with others.
Every community has the capacity to become malaria Competent. But sometimes it struggles to do so. Facilitation teams can then stimulate and support it through the Malaria Competence Process.
Malaria Competence Process
We call SALT our mode of interaction with communities: Stimulate, Appreciate, Learn, and Transfer.
At every step of the process, a facilitation team supports the community with an appreciative way-of-working and a set of tools. This is represented in the diagram below. Click on a step to know more about it.
In Sohm, on average 5 children would die from malaria every year. But Mrs Sera Badjie, wife of the Alkalo, told us that, "since the Self Assessment had been introduced, not a single child had died in the village."