I volunteer with a malaria prevention project in my community, Dromankuma, in Ghana’s Ashanti Region. Volunteering was an easy decision for me: I want to do all I can to help prevent others from going through the pain endured by my two year old daughter Irene when she had severe malaria last year.
I still remember the panic in my wife Alice’s voice when she called telling me that Irene was convulsing and could not open her eyes. We rushed her straight to the hospital where she was immediately diagnosed with severe malaria, admitted and given emergency treatment. I couldn’t stay with my wife and Irene at the hospital as I had to take care of our son and find money to cover Irene’s medical treatment. It was a terrible few days, we were so scared that Irene might not survive – so many young children die from malaria.
My daughter’s life-saving treatment cost over six month’s salary
It was not until the fourth day that I dared to hope again, I’ll never forget walking into the ward and seeing my wife smiling and Irene’s eyes open for the first time. It was like all our prayers had been answered. However, it took a long time for her to fully recover, she was in hospital for over two weeks requiring treatment and blood transfusions.
I am so grateful for the hospital treatment which saved my daughter’s life. However, because I had no health insurance, I was left struggling to cover the cost of her care – around 200 Ghana Cedis (£80), over half a year’s earnings for me at the time. I was lucky to have friends and family who were able to help and also took on extra work as a barber. It took me a year, but I have now managed to pay off the debt. I have also now made sure all my family are part of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme.
My experience with Irene has made me especially thankful for Malaria No More UK’s support for the distribution of mosquito nets to help prevent malaria here in Dromankuma. My part in the campaign involved taking and hanging nets in my neighbour’s homes. I am now following up with these families to ensure they understand how to use and care for their nets correctly.
The distribution in Dromankuma has increased the number of people with access to nets from 2% to 99% of the entire population – including my family who now use their net every night. I am so pleased that this campaign is now being expanded across Ghana, everyone here is at risk from malaria so everyone should be able to sleep protected by a net.