When it comes to mapping and responding to malaria outbreaks, collaboration with local community members like Odinga Chitonka and Given Kasanga is critical.
Only 22 years old, Chitonka volunteers to help collect data by going house to house in Sinafala village. He is motivated to help because he believes Zambia has suffered for too long from this disease. Chitonka works with the Ministry of Health in a program coordinated by PATH and Zambia’s National Malaria Control Program. “The work of the community health worker is to treat everybody, and the work of the enumerator is to enter the information into the smart phones; after that, we give the medicine to everybody,” he explained.
Kasanga, a registered nurse, is also motivated to help because of the devastation he has seen as a nurse in rural Zambia, where he once witnessed a young patient die of the disease. “It was my first time seeing a child dying in my presence,” he recalled. “The child that died was 4 years old—almost the age of my son.”
Kasanga supports the Nega Nega neighborhood health committee’s efforts to test villagers for malaria and distribute mosquito nets. Since working with this program, Kasanga said he has noticed that the disease is becoming increasingly rare in the area. This success motivates his ongoing dedication. “I don’t want to see any other child dying from malaria,” he said.