“My twin daughters died when they were only two years old. I didn’t know what was wrong with them, they were both very ill and I was weak with a fever,” says Hasena, a member of the nomadic Afar people of southeast Ethiopia.
“I carried them for two days to the nearest health centre, walking as fast as I could. It was hot and dry and my babies just kept getting worse. When I was a few hours away from the health centre they both stopped crying. When I arrived, the nurse told me that it was too late to treat their malaria.”
Hasena lives in Kodae village in the remote desert region of Afar, 40 miles from the nearest health centre. There is no electricity, no health centre or school, and the only water available is the nearby Awash River. Sadly, her story is not uncommon.
It is one of many villages in Afar that benefited from the distribution of 90,000 mosquito nets by AMREF.
AMREF delivered as many as we could by vehicle and then used convoys of donkeys to reach the most remote communities. When the nets arrived in Kodae, trained village health workers delivered the nets to people’s doors, explaining their importance and how they should be used.
Hasena was one of the many women who received two mosquito nets. She explains: “Now that I have the nets I am going to use one inside the house for my husband, myself and the two youngest children and the rest will sleep under the other net outside. If I stick with this routine I am confident that none of my children will get malaria again.”
AMREF also trained 300 village health workers to diagnose and treat malaria and pass this knowledge on to community members.
“Now, we are far more hopeful about the future,” says Hasena. “Armed with our mosquito nets and our knowledge, we hope that we can stop our children dying from this horrible disease.”
To find out more about AMREF and the work they do visit their website – www.amrefuk.org.