Senegal malaria net campaign – The best defence against malaria
Written by: Moustapha Diallo, International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies
On her way to her modest home in Thiaroye Guinaw-Rail, a suburb of Dakar, in Senegal, Aminatou Dia leaps over some brick debris on the ground. She must do this every day to avoid the large puddles of water found throughout her town.
At 25-years-old, Aminatou is married and the mother of two children: Malick, three and Dieynaba, seven months. She earns a living by selling grilled peanuts and her husband works at a local market. The fruit of their hard labour gives them just enough so that they can survive.
In Thiaroye Guinaw-Rail, malaria is rampant. Floods in 2008 left many homes immersed in water – the perfect breeding ground for malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.
“There are more mosquitoes here than there are people,” says Aminatou. “We do not sleep well and our children are often sick.
Her oldest son, Malick, recently suffered from malaria and Aminatou fears that her young baby, who is at a high risk of dying from this disease, will go through the same thing.
“We had to use our scarce resources to pay for Malick’s treatment - resources that we could have used to feed our family,” Animatou remembers.
Malick and Dieynaba are among the over two million children who received a free bed net during a national health campaign conducted in Senegal from June 22 to June 30, 2009. In addition to receiving nets that will protect them from malaria, they were also given vitamin A and treatment to eliminate parasites by international partners.
Many deaths among children under the age of five are linked to malaria and vitamin A deficiency. Launched by the Ministry of Health and supported by the Red Cross, this campaign aims to decrease the number of cases of malaria in Senegal.
The Canadian Red Cross supported the campaign by donating 30,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets. In addition to helping distribute nets, more than 1,800 volunteers from the Senegalese Red Cross worked to raise awareness about malaria—particularly on the correct usage of bed nets.
“I am happy that I have these bed nets because I know they are the best defence against malaria,” states a beaming Aminatou.
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Aminatou Dia, Senegal