This is the story of a group of men and women aged between 18 – 40 years, and living Ghana, with whom I share the vision of a malaria-free Africa. We also have in common to be members of JCI, the leading global network of young active citizens. This story, illustrated with pictures is that of Francis Arthur – the 2010 President of JCI Accra Royale whom I met for the first time in Yamoussoukro in 2009 – and all the members of their Local Organisation.
These guys took the challenge to bring change through a project that created impact in communities where malaria is a tenacious foe, leaving more than one affected. They called the project “Nothing but Nets” – an initiative very close to the JCI Nothing But Nets Campaign – led by a five member committee who met weekly to brainstorm and plan the execution of the specific assignment to “give 500 Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) in the Krachie West District.” When asked why the Krachie West District? Francis replied:
because according to findings, malaria has been identified as the most prevalent disease in the Region, added to the fact that the district has 37% of its area covered by the Volta Lake thus making it not so easily accessible.
JCIAR succeeded to secure partnership and sponsorship with Ghana’s National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and Shoprite respectively. Under the partnership, the NMCP was to provide 250 Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), a resource person and some Information, Education, and Communication (IE&C) materials. Shoprite agreed to provide boxes of bottled water, and drinks.
On May 17, two days after a major JCI international event, members of JCIAR departed for the Krachie West District through Dambai where they boarded the Ndewura Jakpa – a ferry – to across the Volta Lake. Recounting the journey, Francis made me understand they stopped at Mala (one of the small villages in the District after crossing) where they did the first donation and training on malaria. After leaving this village, they faced challenges making them to arrive at Kete Krachie, the capital of the Krachie West District (over 500Km by road) at 6.20 pm. Check out the road direction from Accra to Kete Krachie here.
On May 18, Francis and friends all moved to the Krachie West District Hospital, where they met with Dr. Felix Doe – the medical superintendent/ District Director of Krachie West District and inhabitants of Kete Krachie present. JCI Accra Royale was formally introduced and it was the opportunity to present the JCI mission which is “to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change.”
After the formalities, inhabitants of Kete Krachie were taken through questionnaires, educated on the need for diagnosis before treatment, the role and proper use of the ITN to prevent malaria, and how to maintain the ITN and finally, every mother and child under 5 years was given an ITN and IE&C materials. The pregnant women in the maternal wards and sick children in the children’s ward were not left out. These same activities were carried out at 2 villages before crossing the crossing of the Volta Lake.
Upon meeting their goal of bringing ITNs to the people of Kete Krachie, Francis and his team traveled back to Accra where they arrived tired but elated to have contributed towards the global campaign against malaria.
In all, we donated 500 ITNs, about 1000 IE&C materials and educated close to 1000 inhabitants of the Krachie West District. We took the challenge that others avoided and we made the most out of it. We are indeed the change. – Francis Arthur.
We’d like to hear from you. So, leave a reply in the comment form below to share your views, experience and tips that could help such other trips to be better.
You may want to know more about the state of the fight against malaria in Africa. Check out the April 2010 Progress Report of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership I posted here.