Education central in fight against malaria
April 24, 2013
KISUMU, Kenya — In communities along the banks of Lake Victoria in western Kenya, the CFCA-Kisumu project educates families about steps they can take to prevent malaria.
A view of Lake Victoria from a fisherman's boat in Kenya shows the
vastness of Africa's largest lake. Communities bordering Lake
Victoria are susceptible to mosquitos that transmit malaria.
World Malaria Day will be commemorated April 25. The day focuses attention on efforts to combat malaria in countries around the world.
"While malaria is quite prevalent in Kenya, the government and non-governmental organizations have carried out spirited campaigns to create awareness among the people," said Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Kenya. "The campaigns have worked, and the number of people dying from malaria has gone down remarkably."
Lucy Amollo, Kisumu project coordinator, said education is important in helping families protect themselves.
"Being close to Lake Victoria, Kisumu City and its environs have a lot of mosquitoes," Amollo said. "The families we serve are prone to getting malaria, so we have a responsibility to educate them on how best to prevent malaria infections."
Families living in these areas are advised to take preventive measures such as sleeping under mosquito nets, clearing any bushes in their surroundings and ensuring their diet is nutritious, so their bodies are strong enough to fight infection.
"When social workers visit homes, they advise the parents on how best to prevent malaria," Amollo said. "If a family requires mosquito nets, CFCA makes sure that their request is honored. In the case that a child has contracted malaria, we can assist them to get health care using their sponsorship funds."
Malaria is a common and sometimes fatal disease mostly found in tropical countries. People are infected by the bites of mosquitoes carrying malaria parasites.
Mosquito nets such as the one pictured in a family's home help
protect against malaria. Sponsorship benefits can provide
mosquito nets and other anti-malaria measures for families.
People with malaria may experience fever, chills and flu-like symptoms.
UNICEF reported that malaria is the world's third biggest killer of children, and that about 90 percent of the deaths occur in Africa.
"Nutrition goes a long way in making our bodies healthy and ensuring that we have strong immunity to fight against any opportunistic infections," Mburu said.
The CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship program ensures that the families have food to meet basic nutritional needs. Families can choose to receive nutritional support as part of their sponsorship benefits.
"We make sure that we advise them on the need to eat a balanced diet at all times to keep the body strong and healthy," Amollo said.
Schools are also key participants in malaria prevention efforts, Mburu noted.
"In our education system in Kenya, children are also taught about diseases such as malaria and how best to prevent them," she said. "Once the children get this information from their teachers at school, they can pass it on to the communities in which they live."
These efforts have further broadened the reach of the campaign against malaria.
"We hope that in the near future, we will have a malaria-free continent," Mburu said.