Building up Africa’s Health Care Network in the Fight Against Malaria to Bring Families Closer to Care

Posted: April 30, 2024 | Word Count: 511

Malaria continues to be a significant public health issue in certain regions across the globe, especially in Africa. In the most recent estimate, the World Health Organization approximated 608,000 malaria-related deaths with 95% of those being traced back to Africa. This life-threatening disease spread to humans through bites from certain types of infected female mosquitoes is preventable and curable. However, if left untreated, it can turn deadly in just 24 hours after symptoms like fever, chills, sweats, headaches, nausea and body aches appear.

The challenge many people in countries most affected by malaria face is access to proper healthcare services as it often tends to be concentrated in rural areas. For example, approximately four out of five Rwandans live in these rural areas and on average need to walk three hours to receive the proper care they need. SC Johnson, makers of Raid®, has been working to find ways to help in the fight against malaria through the creation of sustainable programs.

For more than 60 years, SC Johnson has been demonstrating its leadership in insect science research, and for the last decade has specifically focused on preventing mosquito-borne disease with prevention tools that maximize social impact and help strengthen communities. From this, the Closer to Care initiative emerged.

Impact of Closer to Care

Working closely with the Society of Family Health Rwanda and the Rwanda Ministry of Health, SC Johnson, makers of Raid®, has been bringing health posts to some of the most remote areas of Rwanda. Over the past five years, they have built 76 of these health posts, which diagnose, treat and prevent malaria for more than 1 million people in the region. Real time population data has been used to pinpoint where people need care most to bring down the average walk-time to receive care down from three hours to just 30 minutes. Since the introduction of these health posts, Rwanda has also seen its mortality rates decrease by 89%.

Bringing economic development to Rwanda

Oftentimes, in areas where the health posts do not exist, family and other community members, especially women, have been on the frontlines fighting against malaria. The time they spent caring for their communities made it nearly impossible to secure consistent work, severely impacting their economic growth.

Beyond providing access to healthcare resources, these health posts boost the local economy by creating jobs. With each health post built, there is a need for added infrastructure, such as convenience stores and additional housing. This stimulates job creation in two ways — people who can help build, as well as those who can staff the new businesses in the community. SC Johnson, makers of Raid®, has also implemented an educational program known as Certified Care. Through this program, women in the area are formally trained to receive certification as Community Health Workers, providing them with a living wage.

If you would like to support the fight against malaria, share the Closer to Care mission to help bring awareness to this issue and ensure healthcare access continues to be provided to those communities who need it.

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