The significant reduction in Malaria (down by more than 90%) is one of the most visible and measurable successes in Macha. This success story shows the importance of a holistic development approach. Dr. Thuma (director MRT) says
"The primary reasons for the big success in reducing malaria in Macha was the prescription of ‘the right medicine'. The right medicine means much more than just a pill. Relationship, trust, patience, perseverance and providing more than just only medical aid have played a very important role. Prevention through hygiene and sanitation is important in the sustainable treatment of malaria. One of the projects of MRT was therefore the digging of water wells in villages. Education and maternal knowledge also play a vital role in the sustainable treatment of malaria in rural areas. The more the mother knows about malaria, prevention and treatment, the better the results will be in reducing it’s spread."
"Mosquito nets definitely have an impact on the reduction of malaria, but I believe the impact is much lower than it is said to be. A much bigger impact on reducing malaria is achieved by better housing. Tin roofs make the house warmer and because of that the mosquito won't survive. It needs a cool spot to rest and sleep. Stone houses are more closed than the traditional or wooden homes, and because of that the mosquito has more difficulties getting into the house. A major cause for people to create better housing is economic growth. Therefore economic support and development of sustainable local economy contributes to the reduction of malaria and of other diseases." Communication and transportation facilities also play a vital role in reducing malaria and other diseases.
Dr. Thuma has shown is his research and statistical measuring that running out of medicine has lead to a major growth of malaria in the area. Now, because of the airstrip and the Internet connection, it is possible to get medicine to Macha in time. Assuming there is a sufficient supply in Lusaka.
Dr. Thuma says: "Consider the roots of a tree. Each tree or community is different, and requires its own specific living conditions in order to grow. Each sustainable treatment must be aimed at these specific living conditions. It all starts with building a relationship, with mutual respect and trust enabling people to be effective and successful. This requires time, a lot of time, and asks people to be frank and have an inner wish to protect Africa."