This morning I woke up under the comforts of my mosquito and after 4 months in Kenya this has just become normal. Now with the rain I can stand outside for about 30 minutes and come home with multiple bites, luckily I have my daily anti-malaria medicine. However many people in Shimoni, especially children and pregnant women, do not even have nets. There are many reasons why this happens, lack of nets, social stigmas against nets and just plain ignorance. This World Malaria Day focused on changing each of these three causes and today I got to witness firsthand how health workers are doing it at a local level.
Most of the problem is that people really do not have nets nor can they afford them. I know that my net cost $40 at home, something that a family on the coast cannot afford, let alone 5 or 6 of them. Today local health workers distributed nets from the Chief’s home to every registered family in this part of town. Every family received 1 net per 2 people in their family. The local health groups, Safe Shimoni and Rise and Shine, spent many hours in preparation going door to door and taking count of what they need and for who. Each person received a ticket for each net and was recorded in a large handwritten book. At promptly 9AM a line reached around Chief Hassan’s home and the distribution launched. Like a well oiled machine nets were given and recorded for each family. Within one hour we had given out 400 nets! It was absolutely a great way to start our day and each family was eager to receive their nets. The donations were provided by USAID but the work and all the credit goes to the really great members of the local health groups. We had such a great time making sure people could have a safe place to sleep tonight with no threat of malaria. After today there is still much work to reduce malaria cases from 40% to 0 but I am sure if we all continue to work together it can be done!
GVI Community Staff