The Dr. Aloy & Gesare Chife Foundation is developing a comprehensive package of community-based health interventions in Anam. The malaria initiative is one of the first programs initiated by the Chife Foundation and is implemented in partnership with High Noon Rotary Club Colorado, USA. The goal of this particular campaign is to eradicate malaria in the region of Anam and is a prelude to the coming construction of the Anam Hospital, which will break ground in November after the rainy season.
The first distribution of the insecticide mosquito net was led this week by Mrs. Gesare Chife in Anam City and witnessed a high turnout. The women and children of Anam were excited to see Mrs Chife visiting their homes to share the bed nets with them. She also took time to educate the village women on how to use the mosquito nets to avoid effects to their skin, as well as using her training as a nurse to issue medical diagnosis to many of the children.
The team plans to distribute more than two thousand long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets this year in the immediate village, and hopes to expand with over 10,000 regionally. These high-quality bed nets are designed to be effective without further treatment and for up to five years.
In Zone 1 of Ebenebe village, nets have been distributed to each family; this means every person in the zone is able to sleep under a mosquito net each night. This represents a ratio of two nets per household. The next zone to receive distribution will be Umuoba-Anam Otu-ocha, where another 1,000 will be shared this month. The Chife Foundation will implement a follow-up assessment to verify the percentage of nets being regularly used. On-going education in the target villages is also planned, in an effort to significantly reduce the spread of malaria in Anam. Treated nets were chosen from among many available methods as one of the more effective ways to prevent the spread of malaria, especially amidst the climate of drug resistance and misuse that is growing in West Africa.
The Anam community and Chife Foundation greatly appreciate support provided by the High Noon Rotary Club of Durango Colorado who’s partnership has made this programming possible.
The Chife Foundation is excited to announce that the Anam Health Initiative is a recipient of International Funding from the Durango High Noon Rotary Club for 2012. The approved project is designed to combat malaria in Anam through targeted prevention and treatment approaches that are geared towards women and children in Anam.
The Malaria program will kick-off in early 2012 and be closely tied to an innovative data collection and tracking system. Our goal will be to measure the impact of the program and Rotary contribution, as well as to develop a network of health in the community.The program will also be launched along with the construction of the new Health Clinic and Centre in Anam City.
The Foundation’s Executive Director, Mrs. Gesare Chife (a registered nurse) will spearhead the project, and we plan to connect with other health organizations in the region, as well as the local Rotary chapter.
Former Chife Foundation Intern and Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Julia Strickler of Austin Texas will also be involved as a technical consultant with the Initiative.
Between 300 million to 500 million people worldwide are infected with malaria annually, and of those 900,000 cases are fatal. In 2008, The World Health Organization estimated that every 45 seconds a child dies of malaria in Africa.
Residents of Anam report having malaria between one and four times annually. Of these infections, only a fraction of cases are treated with simple, inexpensive and proven therapies, because accessing these medications is difficult or costly. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets are a cheap and effective prevention method for the bite from the female Anopheles mosquito (the species that transmits malaria), yet few Anam residents sleep with a net. Local health surveys have indicated that children were the most vulnerable to the disease.
We will post updates on the program thorough the year.
Photo of the Chife Foundation implementing the health survey in Anam. This work lead to further research on Malaria prevention and treatment.
Chife Foundation Fellow Nkiru at Ebenebe in Early June
Chife Foundation fellow, Nkiru Cheryl Onyekwelu attended Ebonyi State University in Nigeria, completing a degree in French Language. One of six siblings, she chose to study French because of her keen desire to see the world. “I have always wanted to be an international translator or air steward,” Nkiru says. Moreover, she hopes to travel outside Nigeria to obtain a master’s degree and then return to pursue a career within her home country.
Nkiru comes from a family of diverse backgrounds and interests. Both of Nkiru’s parents are traders. Nkiru’s older sister was the first in her family to achieve a university degree. Two of her siblings completed degrees in urban and rural development and accounting; two siblings are currently in the process of completing university degrees in mass communications and engineering.
Nkiru interviewing her community members for a health survey in Anam
This summer, Nkiru was a regular fixture at the Chife Foundation worksite in Anam, providing crucial feedback and assistance to the Rurban Design Workshop interns on their various projects. Most recently, Nkiru also helped conduct health surveys in Ebenebe, gathering information on urgent health issues facing Anam families and how a future health facility could best meet the needs of the community.
Nkiru envisions a prosperous future for the region: “Anam New City will change…the community [by bringing] development, boosting the economy,…creating an aesthetic environment for both locals and newcomers, and creating jobs.” She also looks forward to serving as an ambassador for the project, raising awareness about the New City and organizing programs to empower youths through a skills acquisition workshop. Much of the groundwork for this outreach began this summer and will continue in earnest as the initiative moves forward in coming months and year ahead.
Chife Foundation Fellow Nwakonuche Michael Obiakor
An established member of the community who previously attended Anambra State College of Health, with support from The Chife Foundation, Nwakonuche Michael Obiakor recently returned to school to pursue a degree in Health Education. A father of four, he says his motivation came from a desire to “save lives by helping people protect themselves against diseases.” He now devotes his weekends to attending classes, anticipating that this higher education will pay off in the future by helping him “plan for a better tomorrow and make maximum use of scarce resources.” He sees poverty, lack of access (especially with regards to long, inconvenient distances between various communities and the nearest health facility—made worse by the region’s poor road and transportation networks), and ignorance about orthodox medicine as the primary challenges for improving health care in Anam.
When asked how he thinks that Anam New City will change the community, he answers that “it will improve the living conditions [by providing] basic amenities, such as health institutions, adequate safe water, and electricity.” Michael has high hopes for the new clinic and health care program: “if health institutions, such as a clinic or hospital, are built and equipped with all the necessary health equipments and well-trained doctors and health personnel, I think Anam people will attend the hospital…and their health condition will be improved.” Michael’s medical background is already proving invaluable to the project—this summer, he is working with Dr. Julia Strickler and other interns to provide critical information on the status of existing health facilities in the region, which will be vital for designing Anam’s new health center.
Local Ebe Tree is used for the treatment of Malaria
Herbal medicine is an integral part of Anam culture and tradition. Most Anamites are familiar with traditional herbal practices to varying degrees. Many have knowledge of the specific benefits of the plants that surround them in this forest-mosaic landscape. An Anam barrister and herbalist recently stated, “There is no living thing that is used for nothing.”
As a public health intern with The Chife Foundation, I have had the opportunity to learn about regional herbal medicines on our first tours of the Ebenebe site with the Chife Foundation Fellows, Anam City staff, and local residents. Several native plants are known for their abilities to heal and treat specific ailments, for example: bitter leaves can be prepared as a tonic for stomach problems, a red leaf tea used to build blood, and multiple plants that can treat malaria. There is such a wealth of healing resources in the Anam land.
Dr. Onyeka, General Manager for Anam Development Company, uses the bark of the Ebe Tree (pictured) to treat malaria. Ebe Tree preparation for malaria:
- 3 Liters of water
- 3 double handfuls of bark.
- Preparation: Combine water and bark. Boil for 30 minutes, no longer. Drink 1 glass full of this tea three times per day. Store in a cool place for up to 3 days. Heat each serving before consuming.
Ebe Tree Bark
Through much discussion on our walk, we realized that everyone does something a little different and agreed that people in Anam would benefit from using standardized preparations that are proven effective. This is not unique to Anam either; it is a challenge of herbal medicine worldwide. Integrated with the public health program in Anam we should institutionalize the preparation of effective plant medicines, while testing oral healing tradition help patients receive consistent benefits. In this way, we can ensure the survival of medicinal plants and traditional healing knowledge for the future.
Collectively through the Anam Rurban Design Workshop, we are looking to draw out this knowledge and integrate herbal wisdom of the Anam community. By documenting the names, uses, and growing conditions of these plants, herbal medicine can be woven into the future of the New City in Anam.