The PA Foundation awarded Three Strands and its founder/CEO Mike Taylor, PA, a 2015 Global Outreach Grant for its project focused on malaria prevention, education and treatment in the Central African Republic (CAR). Malaria is endemic in the CAR, meaning that a large number of its residents are infected at least once a year. The disease is the primary public health problem in the country and the leading cause of death among children.1 Sectarian violence and continued unrest further complicate the malaria crisis, causing displacement of populations and restricting availability of medications.
Three Strands is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide medical care focused on both physical and spiritual needs for underserved people in the developing world. To meet its goal of alleviating the malaria burden in Bangui, CAR, the Three Strands team developed a plan to provide education, mosquito nets, and urgent medical care for people suffering from acute malarial episodes to 400 families in the Ngola II neighborhood.
Using Global Outreach Grant funding, the Three Strands team on the ground in the CAR set out to:
- Provide supplies and training for four people to conduct health questionnaires in the Ngola II neighborhood
- Distribute mosquito nets to 400 households, as well as 50 additional nets for distribution through a local church attended by many community members
Malaria treatment began in November 2015, and 226 residents elected to participate. After the nets were installed, the Three Strands team treated 354 malarial episodes for the participants in the six months that followed, in comparison to 861 episodes in the six months prior to the use of nets. This marked a significant decline in the number of malarial crises among local residents. Patients with severe cases of malaria were evacuated to a local hospital for extended care. In addition to providing malaria treatment, the Three Strands medical team addressed patients’ other health concerns at the neighborhood treatment facility.
According to Paul Dibona, director of Three Strands in the CAR and a PA-equivalent healthcare provider who practices primary care, performs surgery, and provides many other healthcare services, residents of the Ngola II neighborhood responded positively to the malaria treatment initiative. Dibona reports that many appreciated that the accessibility and convenience of the clinic made it possible for them to receive care right away. Moreover, participation in the project allowed them to receive laboratory testing and treatment for malaria at no cost.
Dibona says that while Global Outreach Grant funding enabled Three Strands to provide malaria treatment to a significant number of Ngola II residents, more can be done to improve health on a broader scale and make a lasting impact in the Central African Republic. The Three Strands team recognizes it would be beneficial to provide more than one mosquito net per household in order to protect more residents from malaria infection. Additionally, resources are needed for treatment of other parasitic infections in the Ngola II neighborhood as well as throughout the CAR and the continent of Africa.
The PA Foundation is proud to support this project that has helped improve health conditions for patients with extreme health needs in an underserved, under-resourced community in the CAR. Through this and other Global Outreach Grant projects, the Foundation is committed to connecting the clinical expertise and compassion of PAs with community need around the globe.
1 Access Campaign, msfaccess.org