In most African countries, a fever equals malaria. And this is true for kids too. However, new field tests for malaria are revealing that the majority of patients (and children) presenting with fever might not have malaria or malaria alone. So what do we now do? How do we tell a child’s caregiver how best to help their child back to health if they are not malaria positive?
Africare is tackling this HUGE question that impacts most of sub-Saharan Africa at The Institute for Child Wellness in Africa’s Innovation Hub at the University of Malawi. Through cost-effective research, Malawian researchers are determining how many fevers have more than malaria at their root.
To support and encourage this type of local innovation, Africare, in partnership with Dalhousie University, has formed a local Innovation Hub that provides training and mentoring, cross-discipline collaboration, and seed funding to test out solutions in real world settings. Too often in most of the continent, best practice and new evidence are not brought to bear in the community, because proposed changes are not locally-driven. The need to foster, mentor, and support local innovators to work on solving local problems has been recognized by African leaders as an urgent problem. Lack of training, funding opportunities, and mentors have proven to be major obstacles. Obstacles that Africare is working to overcome.
At TICWA, Innovation Hub teams are working to explore what they would consider the most pressing local issues for child survival and wellness. Teams are granted modest seed funding, and then are mentored for a year to find community-based solutions to the local challenge they identified.
Current projects that are being tested at TICWA’s Innovation Hub include questions as diverse as figuring out how well homemade mosquito traps work to determining how many feverish under-five children at a health facility in Chikwawa, Malawi have more than just malaria.
Africare’s Innovation Hubs are equipping Africa’s innovators to tackle local challenges right at home.