Youth Against Malaria: Educating the Young to Save Lives

Sep 14, 2017

Zabihullah, a Tailor in Behsud district, near Jalalabad, sets up a bed net provided by UNDP/the Global Fund to protect his family against malaria. “We were given six bed nets: two for me, two for my newly-married brother, and two for my parents,” said Zabihullah. © UNDP Afghanistan / Omer Sadaat / 2016

More than 100 high school students attended an awareness-raising TV show about malaria in Kabul recently. The show was organized by UNDP and hosted by Educational TV, one of Afghanistan’s leading TV stations promoting youth education.

The participants of the show were given useful information about malaria by a UNDP malaria expert, as well as tips on how to avoid contracting the deadly disease. The expert also took questions from the participants.

UNDP is working with the Ministry of Public Health, the National Tuberculosis Programme, the National Malaria Programme, the Leishmaniosis Control Programme, and various national and international NGOs to strengthen the healthcare system in the country. UNDP helps train nurses and community-based health workers improve health services for citizens.

In addition, UNDP’s support has led to improved data collection and monitoring mechanisms. This includes improvements to the Laboratory Reference Network and the creation of a single national database for health indicators.

Malaria has long been a problem in Afghanistan, especially in the eastern and southeastern provinces. But today, due to successful malaria control programmes, incidents of the disease are at their lowest in 15 years. In 2016, the Ministry of Public Health reported 385,000 cases of malaria from across Afghanistan, nearly half of which were treated in local health clinics supported by UNDP.

With 300,000 rapid malaria testing kits delivered to rural health clinics throughout Afghanistan, community health workers can now prick a villager’s finger and get an accurate blood test in just 30 minutes. UNDP and the Global Fund have trained 26,000 community health workers throughout the country in testing malaria and provided medicine for recurrent and severe malaria.

Since 2016, UNDP and the Global Fund have distributed 1.3 million bednets to communities prone to malaria in 26 provinces of Afghanistan. The campaign will distribute 1.7 million more bednets by the end of 2017. One bednet will be provided for every two people in a household, while pregnant women can get one each on their first visit from a health clinician.

For more information about malaria and what UNDP does in this area, please follow the link below to watch the full TV show with UNDP’s malaria expert, Dr. Abdul Walid Sediqi:

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