Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My children can be free of malaria forever

By Habi Kanté, a beneficiary of Plan's efforts to fight malaria in West Africa

My village of Keniele, situated 56 miles south-east from Bamako, is marshland due to its wet climate. I have lived here for almost all my youth years and I got married here as well.

I have been married for 12 years, and live with my husband and our 6 children. The unexpected illness of my children from malaria had always been a source of strife in my marriage.

One would think that the curse has been cast upon my family. From the oldest boy to the youngest girl, all my children would be sick at the same time, several times a year. I would have to stay home to care for the children and couldn’t work. The cost of medicines or paying for their frequent stays in the hospital, was expensive. My husband and I often had difficulties providing daily meals. The lack of money, the illness would often be the source of arguments.

The regular presence of the health workers in our village and especially the information we received from our neighbor, the community health relay, helped me learn how to protect my family against malaria. Because of this, my youngest child, Sama is already five months of age and has never been sick with malaria. It is also the same for his five siblings over the last couple of months since I learned how to prevent it.

During my pregnancy, I completed all my prenatal care and was offered a mosquito net by the midwife. My children and I now sleep under mosquito nets throughout the year. Moreover, hygiene measures and environmental sanitation have significantly reduced the proliferation of mosquitoes in the village. During the rainy season, I personally take the utmost care to ensure that children are properly dressed with their body well covered.

The number of cases of malaria in Keniele and even child deaths due to malaria have been greatly reduced. With everyone participating, Sama and his siblings can be free of malaria forever.

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