“Go home and educate your neighbors” – The Lutheran malaria program in Burundi

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​​During a community malaria competition in Nyamugari, Burundi, crowd participation was encouraged!

Hundreds of people gathered together in the Nyamugari town square to witness three local health clubs presenting dramas, skits and songs aimed at educating others about malaria prevention and control.

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After the three dramatic performances, leaders of the Lutheran malaria program in Burundi quizzed the crowd to see what they had learned.   They asked questions such as:

  • "How does a person get malaria?" (through the bite of an infected mosquito)
  • "What are the symptoms of malaria?" (high fever, nausea, vomiting, malaise, fatigue)
  • "What can happen to a pregnant woman if she gets malaria?" (She can suffer anemia, the baby can be born prematurely or with low birth weight, she could die.)

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The lively crowd, eager to show off their newfound malaria knowledge, raised hands and objects to attract the judges’ attention.  Judges included a local political leader, a community health worker (employee of the government clinic) and representatives of the Lutheran malaria program in Burundi.

The judges called on individuals to answer each question; a correct answer earned the participant a prize. Prizes were both health-related and practical: bars of soap for personal hygiene and laundering mosquito nets, umbrellas to keep the sun at bay and protect skin, and jerry cans for transporting clean water.

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After the quiz was successfully completed, local leaders encouraged all attendees to go home and educate their neighbors about malaria prevention and control. Through dramatic presentations and crowd participation, malaria knowledge is reinforced and entire communities are equipped to implement malaria prevention and control measures that help keep all community members safe and healthy.