Peace Corps Health Volunteer Alisa Langfords shares with ONE a story about a young boy in her village for World Malaria Day
In the end, Justice was fine, but it turns out that he had contracted malaria. Malaria is a disease that kills nearly 650,000 people in Africa every year, most of them children under five. With limited immunities to the disease, young children are more likely to develop cerebral malaria, which can lead to severe developmental issues and even death.
But there are the “strong men” in my community who believe they have little to worry about. While Gifty and her family sleep under a bed net every night to protect against malaria, many people brush off its importance, saying it is too hot and they aren’t worried about malaria. After all, they’ve had it several times before, and they’ve survived.
But this is not always the case for the children. Many Ghanaians do not understand that if they are infected, a mosquito can bite them, and re-infect someone else, including someone vulnerable to malaria’s harsher effects. In short, Justice’s malaria came from somewhere, and it was probably an adult who didn’t use their net.