Edinansi and her husband live in a two-room house with their five young children, who are very young and vulnerable to malaria. Edinansi had lost a pregnancy last year when she was four months pregnant. She had not yet started antenatal visits and used herbs to treat malaria. Unfortunately, her case of malaria worsened, and she sought treatment from a drug shop, using the stretched resources of the family. The treatment was not effective, leading to the loss of the baby. The medical bills also drained the little savings that the family had. While the family did have two bed nets, they were worn and had holes; Edinansi and her husband overlooked how effectively using mosquito nets would be an essential preventative measure for malaria infection.
While Edinansi’s husband was initially hesitant to construct a standard pit latrine, bathroom, and plate stand at their home, those feelings changed. After attending UVP’s malaria and WASH sensitizations, they learned that using the family’s scarce resources could be more effective in preventing devastating health issues. Edinansi and her husband bought two mosquito nets in addition to free bed nets obtained from the government. Her husband also started to renovate the latrine, constructed a bathroom, and made a plate stand. Luckily, he could sell bricks to finance the renovations and buy the mosquito nets. He also used more bricks to construct a permanent wall on the latrine. The UVP sensitizations triggered Edinansi’s family to start using effective mosquito nets, having a standard disposal for fecal matter, and more healthy changes to prevent illness.
Edinansi said that the loss of the baby and continued illnesses in the family “had made us very miserable and devastated.” She added that drug shops financially benefited from the family’s successive illnesses because any money the family saved went to medical bills. She said, “My children would fall sick one after another. The medical bills are now low.” She was excited to show UVP staff the changes in her home and credits UVP’s sensitizations for helping to initiate these changes.
Together with the joint efforts of UVP and VHTs hosting WASH and malaria sensitization in communities, we can create broad change in village communities.
By Harriet Nakayiza, Program Manager
*Edinansi’s story is shared with her consent.