Thanks to LEPRA Horacio spotted his malaria symptoms
I am twelve years old and go to school in Ixcán. There are 24 other children in my class, and we learn in Q’eqchi, our local language.
One day, I started to feel really weak, and sick. I couldn’t stop shivering from fever – it was horrible. It was even worse because I had to take a week off school, which meant I missed my classes.
As I was at home feeling terrible, I remembered a talk given to us by a field technician from the Ministry of Health, Domingo.
Domingo told us what it feels like when you’ve got malaria. I suddenly realised that my illness could be related to malaria, and even though I felt terrible, I managed to find a community volunteer. The volunteer told me that I could indeed have malaria. He helped me to go for a blood test, and gave me medicines.
I was pleased to be taking the treatment, especially when the test came back positive for M. Falciparum – the most dangerous and severe form of malaria. After taking the medicines for a week, I went back to the clinic to do another blood test. I was so pleased and excited to be told that I was cured – and that I’d soon be able to return to school.
I tried to think back about how I could have got malaria -- and considered that my family home had no bed nets and the house and outside area was really dirty. I remembered that the talk in class had encouraged everyone to use bed nets, and to keep their area clean. I told people in my area about this – and now my family have 5 bed nets for my 7 brothers and sisters, and we’ve cleaned the little pond outside our house. Now we all keep our house and area really clean.
Malaria is a tough disease. It makes you very weak and can kill you too. I’m going to tell everyone I know that if they use bed nets, and keep their environment and ponds clean, they won’t have to suffer like I did.
Now I’m so happy, and my dream is to be someone special in the future.
By involving communities from the very outset in malaria control in Guatemala LEPRA Health in Action has achieved success. This ‘social mobilisation’ involves training government health staff and traditional birth attendants and then training them as trainers for community groups and volunteers.
Before LEPRA met her Shanti was regularly missing school as a result of undiagnosed Tuberculosis
LEPRA Patient - TB