Over the next year and a half GSK will contribute financial support of £780,000 to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) towards the cost of engaging faith communities to deliver education around five key malaria messages to 80% of households in Sierra Leone. The longer term aim will be to expand the innovative model to other countries in Africa.
Malaria kills more people in Sierra Leone than any other disease and with only 240 medical practitioners covering a population of almost 6 million, access to malaria prevention information is limited. However, Sierra Leone does have an extensive network of Muslim and Christian faith leaders who are at the center of everyday life, respected and listened to by their communities.
TBFF’s innovative program, Faiths Act Sierra Leone, is a practical solution, through which leaders from different religious backgrounds come together to address the need for positive social change. It uses the social capital of faith communities to spread messages to even the most remote places – where there is almost always a church or mosque but not necessarily a medical clinic.
Since its launch in 2011, the Faiths Act program has already proven itself to be a cost effective and sustainable solution. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation has supported more than 529 Muslim and Christian leaders in Sierra Leone to train over 13,000 members of their congregations and volunteers within their communities. Nearly one third of the population (2 million people) have now been reached with malaria prevention advice through household visits.
Research by Ipsos MORI based on data between 2011 and 2012 found that the number of households that said they used nets frequently rose by 10%, the number of people storing away mosquito nets was reduced by 50% and fewer children are showing symptoms of malaria. While not only attributable to the Faiths Act program, this shows significant progress.
|Location||West Africa, Sierra Leone|