We are Winning the Battle Against Malaria | World Malaria Day
How girl power is beating malaria in Tanzania
This year Comic Relief is focusing on tackling one of the world’s biggest killers - malaria. But women in Tanzania have already successfully come together to battle against the disease.
Words by Kaya Windrich
Despite being both preventable and treatable, malaria remains one of the world’s deadliest diseases, claiming a child’s life in Africa every two minutes. A further 3.2 billion people – half the world’s population – are also believed to be at risk of infection.
Johari, 32, from Tanzania, was one month pregnant with twins when she became seriously ill from malaria. Lacking sufficient information on how to protect herself against the disease she was frequently sick throughout her pregnancy. Although her babies were born healthy, her second son often succumbed to malaria.
‘I didn’t have enough information about what to do to prevent my son from getting sick,’ said Johari. ‘He was sick a lot, and every month I had to go to the hospital for malaria testing and treatment.’
However Johari’s life changed when she discovered the Kanyabeza Community Group. This small group of women from the rural community have come together to help women like Johari ease the emotional and financial burden of caring for their sick children. The group support each other by each paying an initial membership fee, plus a weekly contribution (less than £1) to provide loans to other members when they are faced with a financial burden like a sudden illness.
Johari said: ‘Most of our husbands don’t support us in terms of taking care of the kids. Sometimes we are running around trying to ask for money so we can take the kids to the hospital. We have no support. So the idea of us joining together was really helpful.
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