Rabi’s cousin died of malaria when she was young. She was not properly diagnosed and before anyone knew what was wrong, it was too late. Rabi therefore wanted to protect her children from the disease. When her first child was born, she made sure the child slept under a net every night.
“My cousin had malaria. It was severe. Before we realised, it was too late. We did not know it was malaria. The mosquito net is good. Because if you put your child under the net and you sleep under the net, mosquitoes will not bite you. But if you do not sleep under it, you will get malaria.”
Now she diligently makes sure that her children sleep near a mosquito coil and the area is sprayed to prevent the insects biting them. She also rushes them to hospital for malaria testing at the first sign of sickness, and ensures they complete their full dose of medication if they test positive.
“I take them to the hospital. It is when I take them to the hospital that I get to know what is wrong with them. It has been a while since my children had malaria. Because we have been using the mosquito coil and spray, they do not get malaria.”
Rabi feels that the situation in Ghana, the capital of Accra, is improving. People are better educated about how the disease spreads and go to the doctor for a test instead of just assuming any fever is malaria. She encourages people not to self-medicate at home or use local medicine but rely on modern medicine.
“At the moment, cases of malaria have reduced. At first, it was on the rise but now it has reduced due to the medicines available. If a person complains of body pains, quickly rush the person to the hospital to know what is wrong. The doctor will let you know what is wrong.”
The Global Fund is an international institution that mobilises partners and invests funding to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in 140 of the poorest and most affected countries in the world. The organisation works in partnership with governments, civil society and the private sector to mobilise the resources needed to manage and eliminate these diseases.
In 2016, Comic Relief gave The Global Fund a grant of £4 million to support their work in a number of sub-Saharan African countries, where malaria is a pressing health concern. This was matched funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and pays for anti-malaria commodities; specifically long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets, used by pregnant women, newborn babies and children. It will also pay for malaria rapid diagnostic tests and malaria medication for children, as well as preventative malaria treatment for pregnant women.