Nurses on Tour foundation is supervised by three young nursing alumni from the University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool Zeeland) in Vlissingen, the Netherlands.
During a practical internship at the regional Bolgatanga hospital in the north of Ghana, we came face to face with one of world’s biggest health problems namely malaria. In collaboration with the Meet Africa foundation in Bolgatanga and the local Red Cross Society we started up a project to fight malaria.
This project that we developed includes providing health education about malaria and the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs).
In our opinion health education is very essential. There are many people in Ghana who don’t know how to use a mosquito net properly. In fact, there are a lot of people using the ITNs as fishing nets! Besides that, there are many people who don’t even know that it is the mosquito which causes malaria. Because of this it is very important to provide clear and basic education the people to local people in remote villages.
Malaria is a parasitic disease dangerous for everybody, but mainly children and pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting infected. Children below the age of five don’t have the level of resistance needed for the protection against malaria. Pregnant women have a lower immune system during their pregnancy. Mosquitoes can strike ruthlessly, and infect these vulnerable people causing this terrible sickness. Therefor, we focus principally on this target group principally.
To accomplish this program we look for most remote villages where healthcare facilities are rare or not available at all. These villages are mainly selected by the Meet Africa foundation and the regional Red Cross Society, so that it is a certain that we visit the most rural and poorest communities. Through the arbitration and efficient communication between Meet Africa, Red Cross Society and the local people of the villages, mostly the chiefs of the communities, we arrange an appointment for a `Stop Malaria, Save a Child` program. In addition we receive an indication about the number of mosquito nets we need to distribute to the women and children.
Because we signed an official collaboration agreement and a memorandum of understanding with the Red Cross Society in Bolgatanga, we have made arranged a Red Cross volunteer to be available for translations and assistance during the healthcare education in every program. Furthermore, we get assistance from other surrounding districts of the Red Cross to make a survey of the most remote communities that we can select for an out-reach-program in the future.
During health education we are use visual flip-charts, which like other specific educational materials, are designed by UNICEF.
Before we begin to distribute the mosquito nets, we make an advance registration of all women. This is to be sure that every woman is getting one net and that all women, in every community, are in the records because it is possible that the Ghana Health Services ask for numbers and statistics one day.
These records are also an important factor to evaluate and monitor programs. After a couple of weeks we return to the villages unnanounced to check whether we have reached our targets and if the people are capable to use the bed nets properly.
These projects are made possible by fundraising programs and individual donations. We are getting donations from various churches, schools, companies, family and friends.
Untill today, we have received donations from different kind of sources. We are very grateful for all the financial and encouraging support.
We shall keep on fighting the malaria burden in Ghana!
“Stop Malaria, Save a Child”