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We reflect on World Malaria Day 2019

Today is World Malaria Day 2019 – a chance for the global health community to connect and reflect on experiences of malaria prevention and care initiatives. We are excited to share the latest update from our work in Nigeria, through our NaijaCare programme – funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

NaijaCare is our digital peer community and suite of digital services for medicine vendors (PPMVs) in Nigeria. They can access e-learning, peer support, digital referral tools and online ordering. It is designed to enable PPMVs to provide better service delivery while growing their businesses.

Through our pilot, we have demonstrated that e-learning can help upskill medicine vendors to administer rapid diagnostic tests for malaria.

 

A quarter of all malaria cases in the world happen in Nigeria

Nigeria has the highest proportion of the global malaria burden of any country – with 25% of all cases worldwide.

Rapid diagnostic testing (RDT) kits for malaria are recommended by the World Health Organisation as a crucial tool for community-level malaria diagnosis, as they are quick, cost-effective and do not require complex training to administer.

If PPMVs use an RDT kit before administering medication, it could help ensure that treatment is given only where appropriate – reducing drug resistance.

 

Digital learning for NaijaCare PPMVs to use RDT kits

 

Keen to support our NaijaCare PPMVs to implement RDT kits for their customers, we recently launched an e-learning course on Diagnosing Malaria with an RDT course as part of the NaijaCare Academy.

The course is based on RDT training material from the World Health Organisation and the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria’s Tier 1 PPMV Training Manual on Management of Common Illnesses and Conditions That Affect The Community.

In the course, PPMVs learn about when to test, treat or refer customers; how to test customers with an RDT and how to read RDT results.

 

 

 

PPMVs have been highly engaged with the content

 

The course saw immediate uptake and performed exceptionally well for a technical course. We suspect that this is due to the practical nature of the learning which PPMVs seem particularly attracted to.

 

PPMVs shared their trophies and certificates on the NaijaCare Community WhatsApp group within a few days of the course launch – with many eagerly requesting information on how and where to find RDTs.

The course stands at a completion rate of 95%.  After taking the course:

  • 100% of users feel more confident using an RDT to test their customers for malaria
  • 96% feel more confident to treat their customers for uncomplicated malaria
  • 100% found it useful in helping them understand when to treat and when to refer their customers

 

 

We have received very strong user feedback

 

We have also provided a small sample of NaijaCare PPMVs with some free RDT kits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking ahead

Longer term, we hope to understand if our training approach can increase the regularity of PPMVs administering RDTs and reduce instances of misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment, as well as increase customer demand for RDTs.

We are proud of the results we have seen already: the success of the online course, the enthusiasm we’ve received from PPMVs and the strengthened support they can offer to customers alongside growing their business. We will continue to share our learnings as we keep enhancing and expanding our impact through NaijaCare.