Increasing access to medicines in developing countries is not just a matter of buying drugs and distributing them. It is also about building capacity on the ground by bringing together training in good clinical practice, logistics management and other types of expertise to ensure long-term health impacts.
The Novartis Malaria Initiative approaches capacity building on several levels. Creating awareness about malaria, informing the public about treatment availability, training local health professionals and workers in diagnosis and treatment, and measuring the impact of malaria policies are all key elements for endemic countries to combat the disease.
To improve awareness about malaria with the general public, especially the young generation, we have developed educational materials, including a booklet specifically for children and their families. Using cartoons, it presents key information on how to prevent and treat malaria for readers with low literacy levels.
To improve the diagnosis and treatment of malaria, we offer an extensive array of workshops, training materials, logistics management and other types of technical expertise to empower communities to care for their health. Our programs include case management training for nurses, materials for health workers to foster the dialogue with patients and train other co-workers on malaria.
Between 2012 and 2015, the Novartis Malaria Initiative supported more than 20,000 health workers and caregivers in Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda with malaria educational programs.
The Novartis Malaria Initiative also runs annual workshops with managers of National Malaria Control Programs (NMCPs) in Africa. NMCPs are part of health ministries in African countries. They are charged with overseeing malaria control interventions by setting national standards and providing guidelines and technical assistance. The NMCP workshops are designed to share best practices and experiences between African countries, highlight successes and challenges, and discuss practical solutions to improve malaria control in endemic regions.