Sleep under a net - World Malaria Day

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Wednesday, 24 April, 2013

"When we travel everybody carries their own net"

Alice with her son Okampo. Photo by Ben Langdon

On World Malaria Day 2013, 25 April, we talk to Alice from Kenya, who at the six month pregnancy mark was diagnosed with malaria. Her experience highlights the importance of understanding malaria and making sure others know what can be done to prevent it. Let's continue spreading the word and defeat malaria! 

'It started with what I thought was a normal headache so I took some painkillers and felt better. Then later I was sick with a fever and a severe headache.

'I went to the hospital and I was sent to the lab to test for malaria. The result came out positive.

'I was six months pregnant at the time and I was worried because malaria can cause a still birth which, but Merlin helped me with drugs and I recovered.

'I knew how to protect myself from malaria but I went on a journey and I was there for almost one week and not sleeping under a net. The family had nets for themselves but not for visitors.

'Merlin has now given me nets so every one in my family sleeps under a net at night; even when we travel everybody carries their own net.'

'I did not take malaria seriously before but now I have told so many people that malaria is real and although it can be cured you should sleep under a net. I tell my neighbours that we should avoid stagnant water around our homes because mosquitos lay their eggs there.

'They have changed their behaviour because they saw how sick and weak I was when I was pregnant. They saw that it is a very dangerous disease.

'It is very important to keep creating awareness in the community because there are still people who are very much behind about malaria knowledge.

'Recently the government decided to come in and help citizens with nets.

'Some people are following this advice but there won’t always be free nets. This makes it difficult. A malaria net costs 750 shillings but very few can afford that. Some people do not have a good job and for a day’s work people might get paid 150 shillings (£1.10) but that is all the money they have to buy food for a family.'

Alice is a shining example showing how it's possible to prevent malaria through simple techniques like talking to others about what to do and what not to do.

In Kenya, we’re training community health workers in Nyanza to educate communities about the signs and symptoms of malaria and how to use mosquito nets. It's encouraging to know that local nurses in areas where Merlin works have reported a reduction in the number of people infected with malaria from 80% to 38%. If you want to help us defeat malaria, you can. Donate now