The MartiDerm charity initiative Hands for Help partners with the Stop Sarna project within the Piel Sana Foundation’s Solidarity Dermatology area.
The principal aim of the project for the 2019-2020 year is to continue with the scabies treatments started in the Benga area in 2018. We have organised three expeditions in the past (July 2018, October 2018 and April 2019) and managed to lower the figure of people affected by scabies in the target population from 17.2% to 2.4%.
Since the initial results demonstrated the ability to eradicate the disease in the treatment area, we proposed expanding the project's radius of action. To that end, in October 2019 MartiDerm sent two volunteers to contact different health centres around Benga and offer to train health personnel and provide locally produced medication to treat the population.
Scabies medication consists of two oral doses of Ivermectin measured out according to patient weight (200 μg/Kg weight) taken at a seven-to-15-day interval.
MartiDerm began the project by providing the materials and training so the drug could go into local production. We successfully achieved that goal in October 2018. In the last expedition of 2019, we produced capsules to treat around 30,000 people for the next six months, through to the following expedition in April 2020.
In the first phase we got the drug to be made locally, but the treatment was given during the expeditions with personnel sent especially for that end.
With the latest expedition we began the second phase of Stop Sarna - the advance consists of transferring the diagnosis capability to the local health centres. We are now taking a further step forward by providing both training and medication to local centres so they can be fully independent in treating this disease. We are also helping change habits among the population to get them to visit the health centres. The local impact is very high for all these reasons.
Finally, we are completing the solidarity dermatology initiative by partnering with Active Africa, providing five young people with fellowships to undertake health studies so they can collaborate with the different centres (and make a contribution) going forwards. We have additionally contributed to the expansion of a clinic in Chezi (Malawi).
Our commitment to Malawi will continue over the course of 2020!