October 31, 2016
Written by RTI International Staff
This post originally appeared in the @RTI_INTL_DEV Medium page.
Seydouba Toure sits with a mother and her child on the front porch of a small home in Dubreka, Guinea. He gently takes the child’s hand between his own and maneuvers to prick her finger.
Toure is a volunteer health worker supported by StopPalu, an RTI International-led project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative. The project aims to identify, diagnose, and treat malaria in about half of the West African country, including in Toure’s community.
The child’s cries quiet as the pain of the finger prick passes, and a 15-minute wait begins. The results will show whether she has malaria.
Toure’s work as a community health worker carries particular importance in Dubreka. A semi-urban area just outside Guinea’s capital city Conakry, the district was heavily affected by West Africa’s recent Ebola outbreak.
“Yes, I’m worried about Ebola returning, but I’d be more worried if we weren’t working to reinforce our systems,” said Dr. Fode Cisse, head of Dubreka’s department of health. “Community health workers are an important piece since they are the ones who often first notify of diseases in communities, and also inform people about health issues.”