Fighting malaria in Ecuador is no small undertaking, but two organizations aren’t just up to the task—they’re making serious in-roads. SNEM (Servicio Nacional de Control de Enfermedades Transmitaidas por Vectores Atropodos) is the arm of the Ministry of Health historically in charge of malaria control in Ecuador. PAMAFRO, a project presented collectively by the countries of the Andean Health Organization and financed by the Global Fund, is collaborating with SNEM in reducing malaria burden in the country. The joint effort is remarkable for being part of the first malaria control project with community participation that integrates the border areas of Andean countries.
In 2006, an agreement was signed with the government of Ecuador to establish an office in the country responsible for implementing and developing the PAMAFRO project in five provinces. The project’s objectives include:
Promotion and strengthening social organizations and communities in the fight against malaria
- Increasing access to diagnosis and treatment of malaria
Designing and implementing an information system for community epidemiological surveillance systems integrated in current national health information
- Developing essential health research
Turning Strategy into Action
To date, the SNEM-PAMAFRO program has trained microscopists, provided necessary supplies, (e.g., microscopes, bio-security materials and furniture, antimalarial drugs) and trained facilitators to implement malaria control strategies. SNEM-PAMAFRO also trained community leaders in prevention, control, diagnosis, treatment, and community policing.
To directly reach vulnerable populations, bed nets impregnated with insecticide are provided in villages where malaria is highly prevalent. The project monitors their subsequent possession and use to ensure they are effectively being used.
For the execution of project objectives it partnered with the authorities of provinces, cantons and parishes. The ensuing community awareness for the selection of community leaders appointed by the community involved in a training process continues, with the aim of expanding coverage of malaria control and includes the people in solving their health problems. Community leaders trained with technical support from SNEM-PAMAFRO begin developing community plans for malaria control, in collaboration with provincial councils, municipalities, health areas, parish councils, social organizations, and church, public, private and NGO, among others. 115 community plans were developed with a holistic approach.
Full-Scale Education Campaign
Disseminating educational information about the origins and symptoms of malaria is a vital component of the campaign. Radio spots, posters, brochures, newsletters, school modules, and other methods of communication were used to spread the message.
Over the first three years of the project, several major victories have been achieved: 500,000 blood samples were taken, 10,213 total diagnosed cases, and the burden of disease was reduced by 66% in the intervention areas.