Views from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

School-based first aid kit for malaria named among 25 innovative solutions to global health problems

A programme that trains teachers to manage uncomplicated malaria in school children in Malawi has been recognised by the WHO’s Social Innovation in Health Initiative.

The Global Atlas of Helminth Infections (GAHI) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is involved in evaluating a project in Malawi which trains teachers to use a Learner Treatment Kit (LTK), a simple first aid kit for the management of uncomplicated malaria and basic health problems in schools. The LTK Project is the first of its kind to instruct teachers to test for and treat malaria; it aims to encourage children to seek prompt treatment for any health problem, helping to reduce lost school days due to absenteeism.

The LTK itself is a double-locked wooden box containing rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapy, which are vital for diagnosing and treating malaria. The kit also contains paracetamol, oral rehydration solution and other basic healthcare items, providing free fundamental care for children in schools. Only trained individuals can access the box, with strict procedures in place for waste items. In the event of any complicated or urgent health complaint, children are immediately referred to a local health centre.

The project, which was implemented by Save the Children and the National Malaria Control Programme, Ministry of Health, Malawi, has now been chosen as one of 25 pioneering healthcare solutions by the Social Innovation in Health Initiative. This initiative hopes to transform healthcare in Global South, supporting select grass roots initiatives and helping them to expand.

The 25 innovative solutions, which this year focus on NTDs, malaria and tuberculosis, will feature in a flagship publication Social Innovation in Healthcare Delivery, in December 2015.

The evaluation of the project is being conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in partnership with the Malaria Alert Centre, College of Medicine, Blantyre and is supported by a grant from the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).

The Social Innovation in Health Initiative is a collaboration of the University of Cape Town and the University of Oxford, with technical and financial support from the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organisation).

 

The Global Atlas of Helminth Infections (GAHI) is a public health project based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Image: Teacher and pupil using LTK first aid kit Credit: LSHTM and Save the Children International

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