Malaria Consortium first filmed Christopher Sewanyana in 2009, as a volunteer net distributor for the Pioneer project in Hoima, Uganda. He told us how important Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) were in his community where parents frequently lost their children to malaria. Four of Christopher’s own children had died from the disease, motivating him to become involved in distributing nets as part of a mass campaign supported by Malaria Consortium through the Comic Relief funded project.
In 2011, Malaria Consortium returned to Christopher’s home to see how his community was benefitting from the use of LLINs. Christopher has since trained as a Village Health Team member, providing basic health education and information to people in his village. On top of this, he has also received training in as part of the Canadian International Development Agency funded Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) project, which means he is now able to diagnose and treat diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria in children under five at community level using guidelines and job aids developed by Malaria Consortium in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. He now knows when to refer severe cases to the local health facility, while treating those he can near to people’s homes, saving crucial time and reducing the strain on the over-burdened health system.
“There is transformation,” says Christopher about life in his village. Children have not been getting sick since the widespread use of nets and Christopher’s role of promoting their use and maintenance. “People have found out that the nets are helping in the fight against malaria.”
Christopher comments on how being free from malaria is crucial for families’ finances as in the past it was common for them to spend all the money they earned on treatment. Malaria is said to cost Africa 12 billion dollars a year in health care costs, working days lost due to sickness, days lost in education, decreased productivity, and loss of investment and tourism. The introduction of LLINs and ICCM is doing a lot to address this. Christopher explains that since being able to save money previously spent on managing malaria in the family, he has been able to manage the family’s finances and save for the future. His daughters were able to complete their education and are now primary school teachers, while the children in his village are healthy enough to attend school regularly.
You can see Christopher and his family in our latest film and hear how he believes these interventions have made a lasting difference in his village.
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