25th February to 1st March, 2019: Gaborone, Botswana: The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) in Botswana and the World Health Organization (WHO) convened partners and stakeholders to conduct a national training on malaria elimination.
The training was facilitated by a WHO technical team from HQ/Global Malaria Programme in HQ, WHO/AFRO, IST/ESA, Ethiopia Country Office and WCO. Financial support from MONACO enabled WHO to successfully provide technical support towards this malaria elimination training
The participants included IDSR staff, the health promotion division, surveillance and monitoring and evaluation officers, community health nurses, environmental health technicians, DHMT Heads/Public Health Specialists and other key units within the Ministry of Health and Wellness, including national malaria programme staff partners. The objectives of the training were:
1. To strengthen coordination and multi-sectoral collaboration in malaria elimination.
2. To ensure deeper understanding of malaria elimination among non-health sectors and communities.
3. To raise the profile of the programme technical expertise with the right skills and to build institutional capacity of other stakeholders to deliver quality malaria elimination interventions.
4. To guide development of a new national stratification to inform micro-planning at district level for targeting of interventions.
5. To give build competencies on case detection, notification, investigation and classification of foci.
Botswana prioritised training to guide the country to achieve the malaria elimination target in view of persistent reporting of significant number of confirmed cases. The training aimed at equipping the participants with the knowledge, skills and competence that will enhance planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the malaria elimination program. The five-day training revealed that Botswana is on track to elimination, but that a lot more effort would be required to shift the mind-set of both health and non-health sectors from regarding elimination as 'business as usual' to an attitude of 'whatever it takes'. Operational and strategic gaps were identified in foci investigation and classification, epidemic preparedness and response. Recommendations included stratification of transmission foci to the lowest possible level and strengthening of community engagement and empowerment in malaria elimination activities.
The training was officially opened by the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Morrison Sinvula. He highlighted that the Ministry is being restructured and WHO guidance on requirements for elimination came at an opportune time and will be used to guide movements of staff at national and district level. He reaffirmed the Ministry's commitment to ensuring that the programme will have the requisite capacity needed to implement the elimination strategy.
The training was structured in presentations by facilitators, group work, plenary sessions and field visit to conceptualise the principles of foci investigation and classification. Malaria patients that formed case studies for foci investigation and classification appreciated efforts by the country to eliminate malaria. They expressed concern that malaria is now spreading to southern Botswana, part of the country that is traditionally free of malaria. Feedback from participants indicated a new comprehension of the concept of malaria elimination with particular emphasis on transforming surveillance into a core intervention.
The WHO team de-briefed the senior Ministry of Health and Wellness management led by the acting Permanent Secretary, Ms Hazel Reaitsanye. She thanked the WHO for building government capacity for malaria elimination. The WCO Malaria National Professional Officer, Ms Kentse Moakofhi, thanked the Ministry of Health and Wellness for leadership on malaria elimination and reiterated that WHO will continue to support the country to achieve malaria elimination.
Source: World Health Organization