NTDs are a group of communicable diseases that affect more than 1.5 billion people globally, 39% of whom live in Africa. Even though these diseases can be prevented and treated, they continue to cause severe disfigurement and other long-term disabilities that create obstacles to education, employment, economic growth and overall development.
Combating NTDs and reaching all communities in need can put countries on the pathway to achieving universal health coverage. Where there is poverty, NTDs are commonly an accepted part of life. But this is not inevitable, nor should we accept it. In this sense, the campaign aims to:
1. Increase overall political engagement to NTDs to increase domestic resources for NTDs;
2. Build the capacity of civil society organizations to make NTD decision-making spaces more inclusive;
3. Create an enabling environment at the national level for increased prioritization of NTD elimination.
Since 2016, Speak Up Africa has been working closely with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa’s Expanded Special Project for elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN), using its expertise in partnership-building and strategic communication to help gain an understanding of the progress achieved in terms of controlling and eliminating NTDs on the African continent.
Both organizations work with policymakers, municipalities, the private sector, research institutions and civil society organizations to:
– Encourage the development of policies, regulations and institutional frameworks that promote on-site sanitation.
– Promote private sector involvement in the provision of sanitation services.
− Support sanitation initiatives that empower women
− Increase the commitment of regional intergovernmental institutions to on-site sanitation.
− Support municipalities in establishing inclusive urban sanitation policies and implementing a sludge management system that deals with the entire value chain.
− Involve civil society organizations in the promotion of on-site sanitation.
− Identify partners at the municipal, national and regional levels to encourage governments and key stakeholders to use on-site sanitation systems.
Against that backdrop, Speak Up Africa works to address national sanitation challenges in close collaboration with national institutions that are directly responsible for developing and implementing sanitation programs.
To this end, Speak Up Africa works with each of the following stakeholders:
− Civil society groups that bring knowledge and passion to the challenge;
− The Senegalese government, and ONAS in particular;
− Communities that are in the best position to understand local challenges and design potential solutions;
− Universities, which create innovative solutions on a daily basis;
− Private sector companies that are well positioned to build the national economy while supporting sustainable development and improved sanitation.
Under this program, Speak Up Africa is supporting Senegal’s National Sanitation Office in its communication and advocacy components. The objectives of this support are as follows:
− Contribute to the replacement of manual desludging with mechanical desludging;
− Mobilize stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors; and
− Increase knowledge and ownership of cost-effective sanitation solutions.
In 2017, the main activity focused on the implementation of a campaign to promote the call center created under the ONAS fecal sludge market structuring program, which is one of the innovative on-site sanitation technologies. Thanks to an intensive media campaign, the call center has considerably increased its annual average of 47 desludging missions. During the campaign, the call center recorded over 4,823 desludging missions, with an average of 20 during weekdays and 50 during weekends. This increased the turnover of desludging operators as well as the annual usage rate of the call center.
This campaign is aimed at enhancing knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to menstrual hygiene and at making menstrual hygiene management a public health policy priority and generate commitment on the part of the authorities and leaders at all levels of Senegalese society.
In July 2017, SUA conducted a quantitative and qualitative study using a representative sample of 1,670 people in order to measure knowledge, attitudes and practices pertaining to menstrual hygiene management (MHM). The purpose of the study was to assess the level of knowledge, and identify various menstrual hygiene management practices and behaviors and their impact on the living conditions of women and girls. The study highlighted the fact that girls’ lack of access to clean and safe toilets during their periods perpetuated shame and fear. This has a tremendous and far-reaching long-term impact on women’s health, education and living conditions.
In collaboration with the health district, SUA has decided to go beyond community health workers and involve neighborhood godmothers as well as youth and women’s associations in various activities in order to maximize the reach of the campaign. In 2017, 11,200 people were reached.
In August 2017, Speak Up Africa was invited to participate in the National Girls’ Camp organized by the Office of the First Lady of Sierra Leone, her Excellency Sia Nyama Koroma, in order to facilitate a workshop on menstrual hygiene management. During this interactive workshop, dialogues took place with the 100 girls in attendance to learn about their perceptions and attitudes regarding menstrual hygiene management. We also distributed kits including reusable sanitary pads produced by ApiAfrique and communication materials presenting key MHM messages.
In Senegal, vaccine-preventable diseases remain the leading cause of mortality among children under five. Since 2001, Senegal’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) has been a dynamic program effectively combating 9 diseases.
Through our support for the EPI, we aim to contribute to increasing immunization coverage in Senegal through the following:
− Formative research: Speak Up Africa conducted a KAP (knowledge, attitudes and practices) survey to determine how immunization is perceived at the community level;
− Reinforcement of the IEC/CCC component at the national level: Drawing on the results of the formative research, Speak Up Africa has developed a tailor-made IEC/CCC toolkit for the EPI and its partners;
− Elaboration of a training guide for community health workers: To improve the quality of interaction between health professionals and caregivers, Speak Up Africa has developed a tailor-made training guide for health providers, focusing on social mobilization and interpersonal communication.
This campaign, which is part of an inclusive advocacy strategy to increase awareness, prioritization and national commitment with a view to eliminating malaria, is based on 3 pillars:
− Political commitment: Through its first pillar, the campaign aims to generate political commitment to the elimination of malaria at the highest level of government in Senegal. During its first four years of implementation in Senegal, 140 declarations and commitments were signed by national and international opinion leaders, including 50 parliamentarians and 53 mayors in Senegal.
− Private sector engagement: Through its second pillar, the campaign aims to mobilize the financial resources needed to end malaria once and for all in Senegal. In four years, 14 private sector companies have pledged to support the NMCP and campaign activities during two roundtables.
− Community engagement: Finally, through its third pillar, the “Zero Malaria! Starts with Me” campaign aims to enhance progress and promote efforts by citizens and partners. 8 community champions were trained in Pikine and financed by the Wari company. In less than 6 months between 2016 and 2017, these champions raised awareness in nearly 8,310 people through 3,840 home visits. In total, 27 community awareness events were organized as part of the campaign.
There were 3.5 million more malaria cases reported in 10 African countries in 2017 compared to 2016. In response to this situation, the African Union Commission and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria launched “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign across the African continent during the 31st African Union Summit in July 2018, in support of the African Union goal to end malaria by 2030.
By endorsing the campaign, African Union leaders are providing a strong signal that malaria elimination is a national, regional, and continental priority.
Key figures of the Football Combating Malaria campaign:
− 225 teams of supervisors and community agents mobilized;
− 228 social mobilization activities for distribution and awareness-raising;
− 396 malaria talks held in schools;
− 77,400 people educated on malaria issues during social mobilization activities;
− 29,217 students educated during school talks; and
− 70,000 long lasting insecticide treated nets distributed.
ACCESS-SMC is a project financed by UNITAID and implemented by Malaria Consortium in partnership with Catholic Relief Services. Its objective is to support the national malaria control programs of Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad in their efforts to scale up seasonal malaria chemoprevention in the Sahel region.
This 3-year project is supported by the Centre de Support en Santé International (CSSI, a Chadian NGO focusing on health support); the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Management Sciences for Health; Medicines for Malaria Venture and Speak Up Africa. The World Health Organization recommends SMC as an effective malaria control tool for the 25 million children living in areas subject to a high seasonal incidence of malaria. The project has contributed to a reduction of malaria transmission in children aged 3 months to 5 years and has helped protect some 6.3 million children throughout the region in 2015 and 2016.
Key ACCESS-SMC facts and figures:
− SMC reduces all simple and severe malaria attacks by about 75% and can be effectively scaled up.
− 90% of the target children were reached and more than 70% received at least three monthly treatments.
− The ACCESS-SMC project has reinforced public health program monitoring systems and over 50,000 health workers and volunteers have been trained on efficient SMC administration, supervision and monitoring.
− SMC provides a high degree of personal protection from malaria for children in areas where malaria is seasonal. It costs approximately US$4 per child annually. Very few serious side effects were observed and an independent evaluation revealed no problems.