In Baringo, Kenya malaria is all too common. There’s not a family untouched by the disease, and 13-year-old Joan is no exception.
Many of the people Joan knows have suffered from malaria, and in her short life she’s already battled the disease herself multiple times. It’s so common that the health clinic in Joan’s town doesn’t even bother to double check with a test. If someone comes in with malaria symptoms, they get treated for malaria regardless.
The last time Joan got malaria, she was sick for two weeks. She had all the common, terrible symptoms: fever, chills, nausea, headaches, body aches, and vomiting. She was so weak she couldn’t even get out of bed.
For her, the worst part is all the school she missed – she loves studying and dreams of being a teacher someday. But missing school (again!) puts her behind in class. She’ll have to work twice as hard to catch up and be able to pass her exams on time. And with the ongoing threat of malaria, she knows she could miss more school at any time.
Thankfully, there is a very simple solution for Joan and kids like her: mosquito nets! Malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites – if you can stop the bugs, you can stop the disease. During the day, bugs are less active, but they come out in force at night when children are asleep and at their most vulnerable. But with the protection of a mosquito net, the bugs can’t reach them! Sleeping under a mosquito net has been shown to reduce the prevalence of malaria by nearly 70%.
Unfortunately, families living in poverty can’t afford this basic protection. Joan’s parents struggle just to feed their family. They are already skipping meals sometimes – there’s nothing extra to spend on mosquito nets, even though they know how valuable it would be for their health.
The Kenyan government has taken steps to try to help families like Joan’s. But so far, that extends to providing just one mosquito net per family. When you come from a large family like Joan’s, with many siblings, one net doesn’t protect everyone.
For the time being, Joan is still sleeping without the protection of a mosquito net, worried every night that she’ll be reinfected with malaria. That’s why we’re working to distribute as many mosquito nets as we can to families like hers! No child should have to suffer from malaria, especially when the solution is so simple.
Childcare Worldwide is grateful to partner with generous people all over the world to help transform children’s lives. If you’re interested in helping protect children like Joan from malaria, give a mosquito net today.