Well, April is Blog About Malaria Month (BAMM) and this Thursday was World Malaria Day. Even though I’m an education volunteer my site mates and I decided to do some programs educating students about the disease. My town is considered lowlands in Ethiopia (even though the elevation is still higher than most places in the US), which means that malaria is an issue here. In fact, malaria is the most commonly reported disease in Woreta, with over 5,000 reported cases in the past year. However, when you ask Ethiopians in my community about it they typically reply “there is no malaria here” or “there used to be malaria but it is not a problem now”. Well, I have news for you all – that’s a flat out lie. While it is less common in towns and more prevalent in the rural areas, it is still a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
So, to dispel these myths of malaria being nonexistent, my site mates and I did a program at our high school last week. To start, we had a nurse from the local health clinic come to the flag ceremony in the morning and give a talk with educational information about malaria to the students. It would have gone better if the microphone was functional, but I think he gave some good information (not that I would know…it was in Amharic).
Later that day we went back to the high school for a more fun and interactive program. Since Jeopardy is my favorite game show, I decided to make a malaria version of the game. The students competed in groups and did pretty well! When the game was over we distributed flyers with information about malaria in Amharic and instructed the students to hand them out to people on their way home from school, or to give them to their family and neighbors. The goal was that the students would not only learn about malaria but also teach others in the community about the disease as well.
This past Wednesday, in my primary school English club, I decided to do a session about malaria as well. We talked about the disease; the symptoms and what to do if you think you have malaria. Then the students read some dialogues discussing certain topics about malaria.
After that the students made posters in English about malaria that will be hung around the school. While there are some serious spelling errors the students showed their creativity and did some great work!