Hasena is a member of the nomadic Afar people of northheast Ethiopia.
"I carried them for two days to the nearest health centre, walking as fast as I could.It was hot and dry and my babies just kept getting worse," she continues. "When I was a few hours away from the health centre they both stopped crying. When I arrived, the nurse told me that it was too late to treat their malaria.”
Hasena lives in Kodae village in the remote desert region of Afar, 40 miles from the nearest health centre. Sadly, her story is not uncommon. But AMREF refuses to accept this situation. Just because people live in remote rural areas of Africa doesn’t mean they should struggle to find basic health care and die of easily preventable and treatable diseases. Kodae village is home to about 3,000 people, living in round-shape houses made of thatch. There is no electricity, no health centre or school, and the only water available is the nearby Awash River.
It is one of many villages in Afar that benefited from the distribution of 90,000 mosquito nets. A massive operation, AMREF delivered as many as they could by vehicle and then used convoys of donkeys to reach the most remote communities.
When the nets arrived in Kodae, trained village health workers delivered the nets to people’s doors, explaining their importance and how they should be used.
Hasena was one of the many women who received two mosquito nets. She explains: “Now that I have the nets I am going to use one inside the house for my husband, myself and the two youngest children and the rest will sleep under the other net outside. If I stick with this routine I am confident that none of my children will get malaria again.”
AMREF also trained 300 village health workers to diagnose and treat malaria and pass this knowledge on to community members.
“Before I got the nets, my seven-year old son Ibrahim caught malaria,” explains Hasena, “but I was able to recognise the symptoms thanks to the information I received from the village health worker. She treated him with anti-malarial drugs and he has now made a complete recovery.”
“Now, we are far more hopeful about the future,” says Hasena. “Armed with our mosquito nets and our knowledge, we hope that we can stop our children dying from this horrible but preventable disease.”