Tackling malaria, village by village: a report on a concerted information intervention by medical students and the community in Mifumi, Eastern Uganda
Background: Can an information intervention facilitated by information technology and carried out by an interdisciplinary
team comprising medical students, technical experts, and the community itself make a positive contribution in reducing the
burden of malaria at the village level? In Mifumi village in Eastern Uganda, MIFUMI Project, Makerere University College of Health Sciences Community Based Education and Service program (COBES), and the U.S. National Library of Medicine carried out a series of activities between 2007 and 2010.
Methods: The team surveyed the community’s knowledge of malaria prevention and treatment; implemented a health
information intervention using tutorials in a variety of media; and observed the community’s use of previously distributed
insecticide treated nets (ITNs) using a digital pen application.
Results: As a result of concerted education and outreach, the village residents have a good understanding of malaria prevention
and treatment seeking behaviors. Leveraging the power of information technology and interdisciplinary teamwork,
medical students and the denizens of a rural community were able to engage in an interactive experience of health education
Conclusion: Preliminary observations suggest that a health information intervention in concert with a collaborative community
effort of education and prevention can build capacity within a community to take control of its own health.
Keywords: rural health education, malaria, informatics