Malaria Treatment Saves Lives: One Family’s Story
By Michelle Scott*
It seemed that the Turay family of four—soon to be five—was always at the doorstep of local hospitals and clinics in and around Kissy, Sierra Leone. Malaria plagued the parents and children of this family and they needed continuing treatment for the disease and its companion illness, anemia. The time away from work and constant need for medical treatment often left this family in dire financial straits.
When their five year old son, Samuel, became seriously ill they brought him to Kissy United Methodist Hospital where he was diagnosed with severe malaria. The hospital's malaria and AIDS team met with the family and provided Samuel with free medication and then provided a follow-up visit at their home after he was discharged. The team found a home with many opportune places for malaria-carrying mosquitoes to thrive.
The team extended their health talks to the entire community so the Turay's neighbors could benefit as well. They taught them how to prevent malaria, use natural insect repellant, dry their clothing and dishes in a more sanitary way, store water and not attract mosquitoes, and use an insecticide-treated bed net.
Because Mrs. Turay was pregnant, the team encouraged her to join the hospital's prenatal care clinic to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. As part of this program she received medication to prevent her from contracting malaria while she is pregnant—a particularly vulnerable time for women. She also received a bed net which will protect her and her youngest child who sleeps with her.
This comprehensive malaria treatment program has helped the Turay family stay healthy and it has improved their economic situation since they have less medical expenses and are healthy enough to work.
How You Can Help
This is just one of many lifesaving programs that are supported through the United Methodist Community-Based Malaria Control Program. This comprehensive program attacks malaria from every angle, leading to both prevention and cures for those who have it. The funding supplied through the Malaria Control Program allows Kissy United Methodist Hospital to provide multi-drug therapies, preventative medications, bed nets and community education without charge.
*Scott is the executive secretary for UMCOR communications