Action Meningitis Project in Malawi secures Scottish grant

International Meningitis Charity, Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) under Action Meningitis Project in Malawi has secured £131,400 (about K69. 3 million) grant from Scottish Government’s International Development Fund for its first ever health intervention project in Blantyre.

The funding will finance the Action Meningitis newly introduced project, Triage System using mobile phone technology with traffic lights to speed up and track hospital referrals to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH).

In an interview with Nyasa Times, MRF International Development Officer, Rachel Perrin, said using the grant, Action Meningitis will expand its initial pilot phase of five townships clinics in Blantyre to clinics in remote areas such as Chikhwawa district.

Currently, Action Meningitis Project is working with clinics in Chilomoni, Ndirande, Zingwangwa, Bangwe and Mpemba, addressing delayed diagnosis and treatment challenges, especially for under-five children, which is a principle factor for most bacterial meningitis deaths.mengitis

Perrin said: “Under triage system, health workers will be able to classify and determine which children should get treatment priority depending on severity of their illness. Research found out that meningitis is regularly mistaken for malaria at both community and primary level. The triage system, therefore, will speed up diagnosis and treatment delivery”.

She said part of the funding would be used for time-to-time trainings for health workers on early meningitis diagnosis and swift treatment as well as equiping them with necessary resources.

“Action Meningitis is teaching health workers methods of triage, using WHO Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment (ETAT) system, so that meningitis and other life threatening diseases can be identified and treated far more rapidly, with a consequent improvement in survival rates”.

Scottish Government International Minister, Humza Yousuf said: “Meningitis destroys the lives of too many children in Malawi. The approach used by Action Meningitis has been proven to increase survival rates and I am delighted to support this project through Scottish Government’s International Development Fund”.

Action Meningitis Project in Malawi was developed following MRF funded research which suggested that delayed diagnosis and treatment at hospital is driving factor for more bacterial meningitis and other severe illnesses deaths in the country, with fatality rate for children with meningitis at over 50 percent.

Meanwhile, radio has been used to raise awareness of meningitis within villages, to address health-related social issues and to encourage early treatment seeking for children. To-date over 40, 000 children have been triaged in the region.

MRF is working in partnership with Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust, Blantyre District Health Office, QECH and D-tree International on the triage system. Nanzikambe Arts will also be part of the project to run community theatres.

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