Requiem for a Familiar Curse
In my village, we know malaria very well—myself, my relatives, the older people, the children, most especially the children and the pregnant women. This was the situation, malaria all around. I’ve had it many, many times; I can’t even remember how many times.
It used to give me so much pain and headaches, and even with the sun shining I was feeling very cold. When I was 4, one younger brother died of malaria at 1 year, 11 months, and before I was born in 1979, my older brother died from malaria and his age was almost a year.
I have a nephew who was very sick with malaria in 1997. That boy was just 2 years old and he was fainting; the malaria was so much in his body. He was treated at the hospital and at this time he is healthy, he is very fine.
Malaria is reduced now, and I haven’t had it in five years. But it was very different 10 years ago. Children were falling sick at the hospital and there were very, very long queues for treatment.
What happened to reduce malaria is the introduction of the new drug Coartem. Whoever is treated with this drug never falls down with [gets sick from] malaria. And the Institute works so hard to follow-up with people in the villages, and screen the households [to treat asymptomatic carriers].
The use of treated bed nets also helps. When we’re in the field, we record the people who don’t sleep under bed nets, so when the government sees that they distribute more bed nets.
I’m very sure that [in the past three weeks] nobody has been sick with malaria at my hospital.
People are joyful about this, very joyful, they’re happy.