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PATH partners with Bayer Foundation to fight malaria in Senegal

September 16, 2019 by PATH

Picture of one of the Community Champions_Senegal.jpg

As a PATH-trained “community champion,” Coumba Diouf’s job is to make sure everyone in her neighborhood in Senegal takes malaria as personally as she does. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

PATH received a EUR 750,000 grant from the Bayer Foundation to develop a community champion and outreach program in Senegal. This funding is part of Bayer’s ongoing EUR 20 million program, which aims to support social innovation for nearly 100 million smallholder farmers and their family members by 2030.

Media contact: Lindsay Bosslet | PATH | media@path.org

Seattle, WA, September 16, 2019 – With this support from the Bayer Foundation, PATH will train malaria community champions who will work within the rural Tambacounda farming community to reduce malaria in this area. The community champions will visit households and provide instruction for proper use of bed nets as well as how to recognizing early signs of illness. They will also be trained and equipped to spray households against malaria. PATH plans to reach 125,000 people directly and 700,000 via TV spots as part of its outreach approach.

PATH is focusing its intervention in Tambacounda because this region accounts for 34% of the country’s malaria-related deaths in children under five years old. Farming communities in this region are at a higher risk of contracting malaria because agricultural practices, such as the use of irrigation for crops or storage of water for livestock, provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Many farmers in Tambacounda are isolated from current health information about malaria prevention and have not been able to adopt farming practices that can reduce their risk of infection.

Many of the people PATH will serve, are also myAgro farmers. myAgro provides seeds, fertilizer and agricultural training to over 60,000 farmers in Mali, Senegal and Tanzania. myAgro is also present in Tambacounda. By cooperating in the same geographic area, PATH supports myAgro farmers in Tambacounda to stay healthy during planting time.

Malaria infection causes severe illness, and in some cases, financial strain. When malaria affects smallholder communities at critical periods of the farming cycle, it often results in a significant loss of labor, productivity and economic stability. Reduced productivity negatively affects agricultural innovation and adoption of new farming techniques.

Senegal has made strides in its fight against malaria, decreasing death among children by over 50 percent within the last ten years and putting total elimination of the disease within reach for the country. But, 350,000 Senegalise still become infected with malaria every year. PATH’s intervention will build upon Senegal’s existing malaria elimination efforts, including strong national political leadership, community engagement, and a proactive approach to health promotion.

“Across Senegal, we have seen malaria death rates drop. But the Tambacounda farming community has been trapped by this disease,” says Phillipe Guinot, senior director of country programs at PATH. “It’s making people sick, but it’s also creating economic distress. By fostering a network of champions who live in and know the community, we believe we can support people in taking practical steps to prevent illness. This would not be possible without the generous support of the Bayer Foundation.”

The Bayer Foundation supports organizations in Africa such as Living Goods, myAgro, Mercy Corps and Path. Thanks to Bayer’s support, these innovation pioneers can scale up their innovative agricultural and health initiatives within smallholder farming communities. The four awardees received funding of EUR 3 million.

“With our funding, we aim to provide health and agricultural expertise and services to smallholder farmer communities,” said Monika Lessl, Executive Director of the Bayer Foundation, speaking at Bayer’s first Social Innovation Day, which convened social entrepreneurs, NGOs, corporations, funders, government representatives and academia in Berlin last week to build partnerships (more information at www.bayersocialinnovation.com).

About PATH

PATH is a global organization that works to accelerate health equity by bringing together public institutions, businesses, social enterprises, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges. Our team of innovators comprises more than 1,500 employees in offices in 20 countries. With expertise in science, health, economics, technology, advocacy, and dozens of other specialties, PATH develops and scales solutions—including vaccines, drugs, devices, diagnostics, and innovative approaches to strengthening health systems worldwide. We work in more than 70 countries to transform bold ideas into sustainable solutions that improve health and wellbeing for all, reaching over 150 million people, on average, each year.

About Bayer Foundation

The Bayer Foundation’s mission is to identify, foster and scale the brightest minds and the best ideas in science and social innovation to help provide impactful solutions for the world’s biggest challenges in health and agriculture. The nexus between frontier research and the entrepreneurial spirit of social innovation lies within Bayer’s purpose “Science For A Better Life”. Bayer Foundation’s recognition awards and support programs honor world-class scientific research, and also support young academic talents. Beyond large scale projects with powerful globally active organizations, Bayer Foundation also supports social-impact startups and passionate social entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.bayer.com