Just linked another 10 blogs to our BAMM page that you should check out. Read about how volunteers in Senegal are using empty rice sacks to make a difference in malaria (I promise it’s a good one). How volunteers in Ethiopia are working with schools to educate youth on how to protect themselves. How volunteers in Madagascar are turning tea time into an opportunity to spread the word with Tea and Talk Time!
You can see them all at:
Distribution of bed nets impregnated with a long-lasting insecticide has been a cornerstone of Peace Corps Senegal’s malaria program for years. Nobody who’s ever tried to sleep without one in a mosquito-infested area could doubt how useful these nets are for everyone who possesses one. But there’s a community effect too: when a large number of people in a village are using them, the malaria virus is less easily transmitted from human to human. Less of the malaria parasite being passed around means fewer cases of malaria. Even people who don’t use nets themselves are less likely to get sick!
Peace Corps volunteers beginning their service in a malaria-endemic country often walk into the middle of a debate among older volunteers. Should nets be given out at no cost, or should people be asked to pay a small amount for each net? If families pay a little for each net, some volunteers say, they’re more likely to value them. The nets will be used more consistently, and people will be more likely to maintain them. It’s an investment in the health of their families. Proponents of nets being handed out at no cost worry that asking people to pay for preventative measures is never an effective way of increasing how likely people are to use them.
In honor of Senegal’s new incoming Health and Environmental Education volunteers, who arrive at the beginning of next Month for the beginning of their training, we’re posting this study by the fantastic researches of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT. The study concluded that asking people to pay for mosquito nets does not increase how likely they are to use them. It’s a fascinating example of the way formative research can give us the answer to fundamental questions about the validity of our malaria interventions. This is the type of research that helps us serve our communities better.
So welcome to our new Senegal volunteers! Take a look at the PAL study and get ready to join the team.