Health Division of the Social-DSFES FES Foundation
Based in Colombia, the Health Division of Fundación FES Social -DSFES is a research group in public health that has spent more than 18 years conducting research, technical assistance, monitoring, and development of public health interventions to control malaria in regions. Their work has been primarily concentrated in the Buenaventura region of Colombia.
The group has conducted 24 investigations regarding malaria with a focus on three main areas: individual, vector, and health services. Their work has contributed to the diagnosis of cases and explanations of malaria behavior in the country, especially in the Pacific region.
Among their many achievements, one study by DSFES showed that drug resistance to Chloroquine was 50%, which prompted the 1998 Colombia Ministry of Health to reformulate the P. falciparum treatment scheme on the Colombian Pacific Coast. From a socio-ecological approach, DSFES has established individual and population factors associated with malaria transmission, which has aided in developing an educational program that involves the community as well as researchers. This emphasis on community management, and based on the community’s ability to generate social mobilization for disease control, has resulted in a very innovative program.
In collaboration with local counterparts in AMI-RAVREDA (the Amazon Malaria Initiative - Amazon Network for the Surveillance of Antimalarial Drug Resistance), DSFES participated in efficacy trials of anti-malarial drugs in Colombia. DSFES also created an educational strategy called “The World of Malaria—Learning to Manage in Community.” Working with the community, DSFES developed a series of educational materials and methodologies to develop community projects that control malaria.
The DSFES contributed fundamental policy change in malaria treatment scheme for P. falciparum in the Colombian Pacific Coast and the launch of a Sentinel Surveillance System for treatment failure P. Uncomplicated falciparum.
By developing and implementing a malaria education strategy, DSFES has directly influenced communities and helped train 2,772 people in 359 locations. This work increased knowledge of combating malaria from 50% to 90%. In target communities, during the period of 1992 – 1997, there was an 8% decline in the incidence of malaria while the project was underway.
The DSFES leadership has been characterized by partnerships between public, private and community organizations, the best known case is the agreement of the Pacific Institute of Health-INSALPA created in 1991 signed between local authorities in health, academia and NGOs.
DSFES also has allowed the strengthening of local and national capacity to control the disease at two levels: community and institutional. At the community level, it has allowed the strengthening and creation of interactions between existing community associations in localities, through implementation of the educational strategy designed to raise malaria knowledge and influence the practices of the people against malaria in endemic communities, through the implementation of community projects for malaria control.