Success Story from PSI Programme in Huambo, Angola
Excellent collaboration between the partners of the “Tem Mais” network leads to timely identification and response to a localized spike in malaria transmission.
In September 2015, the pharmacy São Domingos II in Huambo joined the ‘Tem Mais’ network. ‘Tem Mais’ is the network of pharmacies that have been granted special permission to conduct malaria diagnosis through the use of Rapid Diagnosis Tests (RDTs) and administer the Ministry of Health’s first line malaria treatment, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) to clients who attend their pharmacies with symptoms of malaria. This enables the communities near Tem Mais pharmacies to have greater access to confirmatory malaria diagnosis and effective malaria treatments which are otherwise only available in health facilities and hospitals. In the province of Huambo, 43 pharmacies are part of the Tem Mais network, supported by the Provincial Health Department (DPS) and the NGOs Population Services International (PSI) and The MENTOR Initiative. The pharmacy São Domingos II is located in Huambo, neighborhood Sassonde 3. Sassonde 3 is a new, fast growing residential area at the outskirts of the city of Huambo, surrounded by forest, small fields for vegetable growing, the area is crossed by a small river. The neighborhood can only be reached via dirt roads in a very bad shape, public facilities do not yet exist. In March 2016, the first primary school will become operational. The closest health facility is the Central Hospital of Huambo, at a distance of 7 km.
In October 2015, the first month of its participation in the ‘Tem Mais’ project, the pharmacy São Domingos II reported 11 positive RDTs out of 17 suspected malaria cases, an incidence rate of 65%, which is alarming. During the month of November, 90 people came to the pharmacy for testing, and 63 cases were found to be positive, a still increasing positivity rate of 70%. Taking into consideration that malaria endemicity in Huambo is low, this high positivity rate is worrying.
During an interview with supervisors of MENTOR in October 2015, pharmacist Sra Delphina Nachissamba confirmed that all tested people are local residents, among them a family of 12 who came to the pharmacy, with complaints of fever and headaches of which 6 of them tested positive for malaria.
Pharmacist Sra Delphina Nachissamba says that factors such as the daily rains during this time of the year, the standing water on and beside the roads are the cause of the high malaria infection rates in October and November.
The alarming situation of high positivity rates has been reported by supervisors to the provincial health authorities and all parties agreed that mitigation measures should be taken. On the 1st of December 2015, the provincial health authorities sent a team of 15 health staff to Sassonde. During the whole day, the health staff have conducted community information and awareness campaigns among the residents, 350 mosquito nets were distributed to the most vulnerable population. The pharmacy São Domingos II has been supplied with more RDTs and ACTs to enable its
staff to respond to further high numbers of suspected malaria cases.
Thanks to regular supervision and follow up with pharmacies in the “Tem Mais” network, the São Domingos II pharmacy and the partners of ‘Tem Mais’ have been able to initiate an effective and timely response to help avert further excessive cases of malaria in this community. The ‘Tem Mais’ partners are monitoring the situation closely and during a follow-up supervision on the 18th of December, the pharmacists confirmed that the positivity rate is going down. The population is now better informed and the access to appropriate care within the neighborhood is assured.