Thursday, 25 April 2013

Preventing Malaria in Sierra Leone

In this blog post, Dr. Suzanne Howell, volunteer at the Kambia District Hospital, Sierra Leone, for The Kambia Appeal, shares her experience of treating children with Malaria.

The Kambia Appeal, which received a grant under THET's Health Partnership Scheme, aims to send 30 long-term, UK health worker volunteers to Kambia to improve health outcomes and quality of healthcare delivery within the Kambia District.

Preventing Malaria in Sierra Leone

I was working in the northern province of Sierra Leone for the last 6 months as a volunteer for The Kambia Appeal, and dutifully took my antimalarial tablets everyday as instructed.  For the majority of the people in this part of the world malaria isn't just the annoyance of taking a daily pill, it's the reason you have extra children.  I arrived in the middle of the rainy season in Kambia District when malaria was at a peak. Young children were being admitted to the ward in great numbers and dying on a near daily basis just in this small area.  It was very distressing to see these little ones arrive so sick, but such a joy to see the effects that a few medical supplies and the simple care of incredibly hard working nurses can make.  Unfortunately, children can deteriorate very rapidly and mothers went to unimaginable lengths to try to save their children, but everything is against them getting to hospital in time.

Through the shared sadness with these families, the local hospital staff and I were encouraged to promote simple malaria prevention education, so that families would know how to prevent the deaths of more beautiful children and present a united message that malaria does not need to be a way of life. The parents who care so much for their kids have a huge role to play in stopping this disease.