Trainer’s manual for delivering communicable disease awareness and preparedness training with a focus on COVID-19 for increasing resilience in Zambia’s health supply chains

Since Zambia recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case in March 2020, the transport and logistics industry has been under increasing pressure to maintain supply chains of essential goods and medicines across the country. Regional travel restrictions and border testing regimes, introduced to slow the spread of the virus, have disrupted the movement of health commodity cargo, leaving land-locked countries such as Zambia particularly vulnerable to commodity shortages and stock outs. There is growing concern that further disruption to vital supply chains would seriously undermine Zambia’s ability to maintain the distribution of essential medicines across the county whilst in parallel mounting a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to protect key workers, Transaid in partnership with the Industrial Training Centre (ITC), and supported by UK industry, have developed a communicable diseases training manual with a focus on COVID-19 awareness and preparedness. The training is suitable for colleagues working at all levels of the health supply chain workforce, and includes additional modules aimed at Fork Lift Truck (FLT) operators and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) drivers.

Click below to download the manual.

Technical Brief: Empowering road freight transport operators to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

Since 2016, Transaid’s Professional Driver Training – Uganda project (PDTU) has been working to improve the capacity of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and passenger service vehicle (PSV) drivers in Uganda. The COVID-19 pandemic, first recorded in Uganda in March 2020, has added a number of new challenges for professional truck drivers at a time when the need to maintain vital supplies of foods, medicines and other essential assistance is increasingly falling to road transporters.

Despite the risk of exposure, truck drivers have continued to work through unpredictable and deteriorating working conditions, whilst facing increased scrutiny and stigma particularly at the beginning of the pandemics when many of the new cases of COVID-19 being reported in Uganda were from long distance drivers being tested at the borders.

Between August and November 2020, Transaid and Safe Way Right Way partnered with transporter unions in Uganda to produce truck driver-specific COVID-19 information and key road safety messaging in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. This information was distributed together with a package of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) by specially trained Field Officers to 3,994 cross border truck drivers from 9 different countries as part of wider sensitisation campaign.

To read this brief, please click below.

Importance of gender empowerment to reducing malaria mortality in Zambia – Evidence Brief

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are key to achieving universal health coverage. They are also important in their own right as a means to achieve sustainable development. Building on a successful gender mainstreaming approach used in three earlier projects, MAM@Scale integrated a focus on gender into the design of a severe malaria intervention in Zambia. Community health volunteers (CHVs) were trained to administer quality assured 100 mg rectal artesunate to children with severe malaria danger signs at community level and to refer patients to the health facility for further treatment. The project’s gender strategy aimed to address the wide range of social norms and gender stereotypes that prevented rural households from responding promptly to severe malaria and other child health emergencies.

Click below to read the full brief.

Adapting a severe malaria intervention in Zambia in the context of COVID-19 – Evidence Brief

In early March 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Many countries had started to take steps to isolate suspected cases, ban mass gatherings and public events, close schools and universities and impose social distancing. At the time, MAMaZ Against Malaria at Scale (MAM@Scale) was implementing a community level intervention to address severe malaria targeted to young children in five districts of Zambia, working in partnership with district health teams. Responding to an urgent request by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for development partners to help build community preparedness and resilience, the project swiftly pivoted its activities to integrate a COVID-19 focus.

This evidence brief looks at how MAM@Scale adapted a severe malaria intervention in Zambia in the context of COVID-19.

Click below to read the full brief.

Scaling up rectal artesunate in Zambia – Evidence Brief

Over 7,500 malaria deaths occurred in Zambia in 2018 and children under six are the most susceptible due to their lack of immunity. MAM@Scale empowered Zambian families in five districts (Chitambo, Serenje, Chama, Manyinga and Vubwi) to reduce their mortality risk from severe malaria by introducing artesunate rectal capsules (known locally as rectal artesunate or ‘RAS’), a cutting-edge pre-referral intervention given at community level to children aged six months to six years old. The MAMaZ Against Malaria (MAM) pilot project (2017-2018) reported a reduction in severe malaria case fatality from 8% to 0.25% in intervention sites in Serenje district.

Building on this evidence base, MAM@Scale began implementation in December 2018 with funding from Grand Challenges Canada, Medicines for Malaria Venture and Transaid. Originally an 18-month intervention, additional funding from FIA Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada and a private donor extended the project by six months and enabled the inclusion of a COVID-19 focus. MAM and MAM@Scale built on a longer-term investment in community health systems strengthening by two earlier projects.

This evidence brief looks at scaling up progress so far and highlights some key lessons to guide wider national scale up of the innovation.

Click below to read the full brief.

Case study: Chitambo District Health Office (DHO) partnering with MAM@Scale in the COVID-19 response

The collaboration between Chitambo District Health Office (DHO) and MAM@Scale has been very effective, not only in the treatment of severe malaria at community level using rectal artesunate, a pre-referral drug, but also developing strong preventative measures against COVID-19 in this transit town.

MAM@Scale uses a strong community engagement approach by establishing and strengthening community systems to uplift health standards at community level. It is an inclusive approach that engages people at all levels, from traditional leadership to members of the community. People who volunteer to work for the community are trained in health education and become the providers of basic health services at community level. Food banks and savings schemes are formed in the communities to fight affordability barriers. This has not only raised demand for health services in the facilities that MAM@Scale is supporting in Chitambo district, but it made it much easier to put up preventative measures against COVID-19.

Click below to read the full case study.

Case Study: Baron educates people on malaria, emergency transport systems and COVID-19 on air

Fwanta is a community in the Kabamba area of Serenje District, Zambia.  In the past, many people in Fwanta who developed medical complications, be it maternal or malarial related, died because people wrongly interpreted the danger signs.

A turning point happened when MAMaZ Against Malaria at Scale (MAM@Scale) began working with this community and the Kabamba Rural Health Centre. They trained Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) on the management of severe malaria at community level through the administering of a Rectal Artesunate Suppository (RAS). MAM@Scale also provided an emergency transport system (ETS), in the form of a bicycle ambulance, to Fwanta.  Baron Mupeta was one of the people selected to be trained as an ETS rider.

Click below to read Baron’s testimonial.

Case Study: Brenda Kundo

Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) are the backbone of the health system in rural Zambia, where they provide invaluable health advice to their communities, which are located prohibitively far from health facilities. Before the pandemic, CHVs were a vital part of our MAM at Scale programme, combatting malaria in their community by educating families on the danger signs of severe malaria and administering RAS (rectal artesunate suppositories), a pre-treatment for children with suspected severe malaria.

CHVs are a trusted voice in their communities, so it was natural that they would form the cornerstone of MAM at Scale’s COVID-19 response. To meet the challenges of the pandemic, the MAM at Scale team has orientated nine Community Facilitators on COVID-19, who have in turn trained 1,379 CHVs, who will help keep their communities safe during the pandemic.

Brenda Kunda is a Community Facilitator with MAM at Scale. A tragic experience in Brenda’s life eventually led to a positive change, not only for her, but for her family and her entire community.

Click below to read Brenda’s story.

Staying Safe in the Workplace – COVID-19 Information for the Health Supply Chain Workforce

Since Zambia recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case in March 2020, the transport and logistics industry has been under increasing pressure to maintain supply chains of essential goods and medicines across the country. Regional travel restrictions and border testing regimes, introduced to slow the spread of the virus, have disrupted the movement of health commodity cargo, leaving land-locked countries such as Zambia vulnerable to commodity shortages and stock outs. With this in mind, it is vital that action is taken to build resilience in the health supply chain workforce, to ensure that preventative medicines and equipment continue to reach the most vulnerable people, especially at a time when the pandemic threatens to overwhelm an already fragile health system.

In an effort to protect Zambia’s health supply chain from shocks arising from the current COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics, Transaid collaborated with the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) to develop a short training module to inform and sensitise the health supply chain workforce to work-related COVID-19 risks. In addition to this training, an illustrated factsheet featuring training-related memory aides was developed and included as part of a personal protective equipment (PPE) package distributed to the training recipients. The factsheet includes additional cleaning checklists to ensure that the specific needs of professional drivers and forklift truck operators are incorporated.

Click below to view the factsheet.

Protect Yourself Against COVID-19 – Information for Professional Drivers Working in Zambia factsheet

Since Zambia recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case in March 2020, the transport and logistics industry has been under increasing pressure to maintain supply chains of essential goods and medicines across the country. Some professional drivers continue to endure challenging working conditions and possible increased road safety risks, while increased demand for emergency orders means that protecting keyworkers from exposure to the virus is more important than ever.

In response, Transaid, together with the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Zambia have developed a COVID-19 factsheet for professional drivers working in Zambia, which includes information about symptoms and context-related preventative measures, such as regular cab sanitisation, aimed at reducing the risk of exposure and transmission. Road safety advice is also included, with drivers being alerted to potential emerging road safety risks as well as the possible rise in theft from vehicles caught in long tailbacks at border crossings.

Click below to view the factsheet.

Article – How MAM@Scale adapted to tackle COVID-19 whilst maintaining momentum in the fight against malaria

2020 marked the start of the Decade of Action on Sustainable Development, which aims to accelerate progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. However, this year also saw the emergence of a new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, which has had devastating effects on health systems globally and has the potential to put a halt to much of the progress made against specific Goals. This global pandemic also poses a serious threat to the broader social, economic, and political security of entire populations worldwide, disproportionately impacting communities in low-income countries and resource-constrained settings.

In the wake of the pandemic, the MAM@Scale programme had to quickly and effectively adapt in order to tackle the spread of COVID-19 while continuing the fight against severe malaria as well as other lifesaving work to enhance maternal health outcomes. Thanks to funding from the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society, together with Grand Challenges Canada and MMV, we were able to integrate COVID-19 prevention into our work and support the government of Zambia’s COVID-19 response.

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CASE STUDY: Emmanuel Zambo PDT-U COVID-19 Response Project – Uganda

In June 2020, Transaid launched a COVID-19 response programme to support heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers in Uganda, supported by the Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) Programme. Working with local partners, Transaid is helping to roll out driver-specific safety advice and provide handwashing facilities, cab sanitisation materials, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep drivers safe, reduce transmission rates and build community confidence in the safety of the logistics sector.

This case study tells the story of Emmanuel Zambo, a Congolese driver who has been driving long distance for over seven years. COVID-19 has brought many challenges to his job, as he explains.

Click below to read Emmanuel’s testimonial of how this project is positively impacting his ability to carry out his job.