Keeping water in and mosquitos out with drum-proofing

When a mosquito is looking for a place to lays its eggs it has many options as it hunts for stagnant water in discarded cans and bottles, in old unused tires and in the myriad of water collecting waste that surround where humans live. However, some of the best conditions for mosquitos are in things people would rather not throw away – water storage drums. Data from the Dominica Ministry of Health found that the drum, a water storage container kept in around 90 percent of Dominican homes, was the most common mosquito breeding container in Dominica (70 percent of all mosquito breeding sites were drums).

The Dominica Red Cross Society has responded to this threat by working with communities to stop these drums from becoming mosquito breeding grounds. “We want to have the biggest impact in the communities we work with so we’ve gone after the biggest mosquito problem we can find. The drum-proofing activity gives us a chance to educate people while giving them something tangible that can prevent their families from getting sick.” explains Sylvester Jean-Baptiste, Zika Project Manager for Dominica Red Cross.

The drums are most often left outside, near the home and collect rainwater to be used for household chores. So, a lid is often not the best solution to the problem because while it keeps mosquitoes out, it also stops water from collecting in the drum. The solution was to create a water permeable mesh cover for the drum that could be tightly sealed, that prevented mosquitoes from entering and adding a tap to the drum’s base so that water could be easily accessed. The materials for this activity were purchased with the support from USAID through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) to the Dominica Red Cross Zika Project. The materials for this exercise were aligned with previous efforts to proof drums spearheaded by Environmental Health Officers through a PAHO supported Ministry of Health project.

Throughout the activities, staff and volunteers from Dominica Red Cross who had been trained through the project educated community members about the Aedes mosquito, which transmits Zika, dengue and chikungunya, where it breeds and how to prevent them. The Zika project has allowed Dominica Red Cross to take a multi-pronged approach to fighting the Aedes mosquito from activities like this which promote community-based vector control to risk communication and warning pregnant women and their partners about Zika risks.

Dominica Red Cross targeted three communities for the drum-proofing exercise – Grand Bay, Soufriere and Marigot where 90 drums were “mosquito-proofed”. Drum-proofing activities were interrupted on September 18 2017 when Hurricane Maria hit the island, the first Category 5 hurricane to strike Dominica. Dominica Red Cross staff and volunteers mobilized quickly to respond to the disaster and the experience of drum-proofing was not forgotten. The drum-proofing exercise building of lessons learnt in the Zika project, was built into the Hurricane Maria Emergency Appeal noting the increased threat of mosquito borne-diseases after the disaster.

Dominica Red Cross has procured the materials for a second round of drum-proofing activities through ongoing support from IFRC through USAID. Replication of this activity in other countries in the Caribbean wide Zika Prevention and Response project are planned for the projects third year in 2019.

Download the pdf of this success story here.

Monitoreo en Antioquia resalta avances y retos del proyecto CAZ

En septiembre, delegados la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID), acompañados por representantes de la Federación Internacional (FICR) y la Cruz Roja Colombiana, realizaron una visita de monitoreo de avances del proyecto Acción Comunitaria contra el Zika (CAZ) en Medellín, Colombia.

El proyecto CAZ se implementa en colaboración con la agencia Save the Children, gracias al apoyo financiero de USAID; esto implica que, además de rendir cuenta a las comunidades que participan en el proceso, el proyecto tiene la responsabilidad de revisar con donante y socio los avances en la ejecución.

La visita, en la cual participaron representantes de USAID y miembros de IFRC, además de coordinadores nacionales del proyecto y representantes del Ministerio de Salud, tuvo como objetivo revisar el desarrollo del proyecto en Colombia y observar la ejecución de algunas actividades.

Esta fue la ocasión para los coordinadores de presentar los avances y el impacto logrado a nivel local y nacional y de resaltar la importancia de la colaboración entre Cruz Roja y autoridades de salud para fortalecer las capacidades y conocimientos de la población y asegurar continuidad en el proceso de prevención de enfermedades transmitidas por el mosquito.

Tras la reunión en las instalaciones de la Seccional de la Cruz Roja de Antioquia, se realizó una visita a la comunidad de Maria Cano-Carambolas y al centro escolar Bello Oriente, donde la Cruz Roja, gracias al involucramiento de miembros de la comunidad y voluntarios, implementa acciones de vigilancia y monitoreo comunitario y de sensibilización de niños y adolescentes.

En su retroalimentación, delegados de USAID destacaron el valor agregado de la Cruz Roja en termino de trabajo comunitario y presencia constante entre la población y la relevancia de la coordinación con las autoridades de salud. En vista de que en octubre 2018 empezará el tercer y último año de ejecución del proyecto, todas las partes involucradas resaltaron la importancia de medir el impacto de las acciones implementadas y considerar la sostenibilidad de las acciones al cerrarse el proyecto.

 

Esta publicación es posible gracias al generoso apoyo del pueblo estadounidense a través de la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID). El contenido es responsabilidad de Save the Children y la Federación Internacional de Sociedades de la Cruz Roja y de la Media Luna Roja y no refleja necesariamente las opiniones de USAID o del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos.

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