Using Teamwork to Control Malaria

Rebecca Simon

Former Manager of Strategic Communications

Pepin Miyigbena, Senior Technical Advisor to the NMCP in Cote d'Ivoire. (Photo:Santi Ngo/MSH)

“We work with the team, in the team, and for the team.”
—Pepin Miyigbena, NMCP Advisor in Côte d’Ivoire

Through the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project, the President’s Malaria Initiative provides technical assistance to the National Malaria Control Programs (NMCPs) of Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Laos, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to strengthen malaria control efforts, reduce deaths, and decrease the overall morbidity of the disease. The NMCPs of these countries have demonstrated their commitment to strengthening their leadership, management, and governance capacity by placing long-term technical advisors directly among their teams.

Unlike short-term technical assistance, the LMG Project’s long-term NMCP technical advisors have the opportunity to assess and understand the environment they are working in and to integrate with and work alongside NMCP staff to identify and address the real gaps, challenges, and needs.

“Immersion in the NMCP team means I feel the issues the same way,” says Ghislaine Djidjoho, a Senior Technical Advisor to Côte d’Ivoire’s NMCP, “By being a good listener and staying humble, the team has transformed. One colleague said, ‘I’d never met anyone who made me feel important.”

Ghislaine Djidjoho, Senior Technical Advisor to Cote d'Ivoire's NMCP. (Photo: Santi Ngo/MSH)

The long-term approach provides the opportunity for the technical advisors to systematically build knowledge, skills, practices, and behaviors that will allow NMCPs to steward health programs and implement national malaria strategies effectively over the long term in order to ensure sustainability. They also come equipped with proven tools for capacity building, like the Leadership Development Program Plus (LDP+). This potent combination of technical expertise, tools, and time strengthens NMCPs to implement disease-fighting campaigns.

Maurice N’Djore, NMCP Advisor in Cameroon, explains: “With long-term TA, we are able to experiment with ideas to build capacity. We have time to get results because we can go deeper with our analysis and meet specific needs.”

NMCP Achievements

Mobile money payments for long-lasting insecticide net (LLIN) mass distribution in Cameroon. “Mobile money allowed us to improve the security, transparency, and traceability of payment transactions, as well as the security of our staff by significantly reducing the risks associated with handling money,” says Roger Binelli, NMCP Cameroon.

Dr. Youssoufa Lo, a Senior Technical Advisor to the NMCP in Guinea. (Photo: Santi Ngo/MSH)

Public-private partnerships to manage data in Côte d’Ivoire. According to Dr. Tanoh Méa Antoine, NMCP Côte d’Ivoire, “Signing this collaboration framework is a new beginning for the NMCP.”

Restoring the leadership role of the NMCP in Guinea despite Ebola through personnel coaching. “Coaching is a winning bet, an immediate solution for improve the quality of human resources at a low cost. It is a simple and effective leadership practice,” says Dr. Timothé Guilavogui, NMCP Guinea.

2.78 million LLINs distributed in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak. “The LMG Senior Technical Advisor stayed and supported us during the Ebola outbreak, and his contribution was instrumental in achieving the mass LLIN campaign objective,” shares Paye Konah Nyansaiye, NMCP Liberia.

These achievements were possible because long-term advisors have made it a priority to work alongside their colleagues every day to identify the root causes of the challenges and to develop appropriate solutions to lasting change.

Maurice N'Djore, a Senior Technical Advisor to the NMCP in Cameroon. (Photo: Santi Ngo/MSH)

As Maurice N’Djore says, “When you are part of a team, you learn and do things together, and your perspective shifts. You are able to say ‘Oh, we can do that!’”

April 25, 2017, is World Malaria Day, an international commemmoration of efforts to control and prevent the spread of malaria.