China-UK-Tanzania Pilot Project on Malaria Control: Effects and Implications of "Paired Learning by Doing" Approach

chinacdc.cn | Updated: 2023-11-21
The novel "Learning by Doing" approach, specifically in the form of "paired", has proven to be an essential and effective element contributing to the success of the Pilot Project. This approach can be utilized when cooperation partners are able to establish mutual understanding from the outset. By fostering close collaboration and mutual learning through paired interactions in the field, the approach has significantly enhanced the capacity of both Chinese and Tanzanian members. Consequently, upon their return home, many Chinese team members received promotions. Notably, following their participation in multiple aid projects in Africa, some members from the Anhui and Shandong provinces assumed leadership positions within their respective organizations, while others became recognized experts in China's foreign aid programs.
 
In addition to the aforementioned outcomes, there are broader implications of the "Learning by Doing" approach in the context of pairing individuals.
 
Establishment of a global health talent pool in China. This initiative involved the selection of highly skilled professionals from various provincial centers for disease control and prevention, such as the NIPD, Shandong Institute of Parasitic Disease, Yunnan Institute of Parasitic Disease, Anhui Provincial CDC, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region CDC, and Chongqing CDC. These experts were carefully chosen for their comprehensive perspective and practical experience in healthcare. By actively addressing real-world challenges within the project and engaging in on-site communication and coordination with the WHO, Tanzanian experts, and non-governmental organizations, they gained invaluable knowledge and expanded their horizons. To ensure efficient project management and foster the professional growth of the team, the project implemented a robust project management framework which included expert committees, a project officer, field working groups, and community volunteer teams.
 
Improvement of the capacity of local healthcare services. The successful implementation of the Pilot Project owes much to the efforts of 37 dedicated and talented young volunteers who formed a community worker team in Rufiji District, Tanzania. Their contribution laid a strong foundation for the project's seamless progress and subsequent effective malaria control measures. In addition, 50 local staff members received comprehensive training on indoor residual spraying (IRS) techniques to control infected areas and eliminate Anopheles larvae. Furthermore, 37 clinicians, medical workers, and volunteers underwent training in case management, vector control, and health education. These interventions resulted in the development of a cadre of skilled professionals and technical staff members. Notably, two Tanzanian experts were given the opportunity to study and work in China, thanks to funding from the Chinese government's TYSP. After completing their diplomas, they returned to their homeland to spearhead efforts in training local personnel on malaria control techniques.
 
Enhancement of local capacity for malaria control and strategic implementation. In order to align with the infrastructure and health conditions of the local community, expert discussions were held between Chinese and Tanzanian professionals to modify the Chinese "1-3-7" approach to the 1,7-mRCTR approach for malaria prevention and control. This collaboration involved local institutions engaged in malaria prevention and control, as well as the establishment of mobile microscopic examination stations. Furthermore, a locally-tailored electronic reporting system was developed based on the Open Data Kit, which is similar to the Chinese disease surveillance system. Researchers in the field can now utilize this system to gather epidemiological information on reported malaria cases, enabling prompt detection and reporting. The implementation of this system has not only boosted the efficiency and effectiveness of malaria control efforts but has also bolstered the monitoring and management capabilities of local institutions. This adaptation has resulted in a significant reduction in malaria cases and has reinforced the capacity for local control.
 
Leveraging the Involvement of Private Sectors
 
Moreover, a productive platform for international cooperation has been established, facilitating successful collaboration among various stakeholders. By means of active communication and coordination, Fosun Pharma was engaged in the cooperation and donated 500,000 Chinese Yuan worth of Dihydroartemisinin and Phosphate Piperaquine (D-ARTEP), an oral artemisinin-based medication. This initiative has not only rescued numerous local patients but also elevated the standardized cure rate for malaria.