Fighting Malaria One Test at a Time
When Millicent’s young son started to show malaria symptoms, she and her family were understandably very worried. They called their local Community Health Volunteer in Ligega, Kenya named Dorothy.
“When I saw the child, the body was very hot and had fast breathing,” Dorothy recalled the situation. “The child had two danger signs.”
Unfortunately, at the time Dorothy had no supplies to be able to test and treat the case of Millicent’s son. The only option she had was to advise the family to rush to the local hospital for help. At the hospital, Millicent’s son tested positive for malaria and sadly, he passed away. The family was devastated.
“He was growing up well. He was active, happy and healthy. He fell sick. It was very, very sad.” Dorothy recalled.
Then Millicent’s second child, baby Isabel*, also came down with malaria symptoms. The family immediately called Dorothy who came to their home. This time, Dorothy had all of the necessary life-saving supplies she needed to effectively test and treat baby Isabel.
Isabel is now healthy and malaria free. Dorothy was able to manage the case at home and continues to support baby Isabel and the family.
Millicent remarked, “In this village, Dorothy’s role is very important.”
Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT's) are the first and critical tool in the malaria response. They provide results in approximately twenty minutes and enable community-based care and start of treatment within hours, which can make the difference between life and death, especially in a young child. Early diagnosis of malaria not only reduces disease and prevents deaths, but also contributes to reducing malaria transmission.
Through Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Comic Relief USA supports 3,800 Community Health Volunteers like Dorothy with a monthly stipend that enables them to do this vital, life-saving work, as well as funds RDT’s for more than 3 million children across Kenya.
*Please note names have been changed to protect the child's identity