From a very young age, Anite was a sickly child. Her mother, Florence, says that after Anite was born, she often fell sick from malaria. The little girl went to multiple hospitals, but each time they after they treated her, the malaria came back. This worried Anite’s mother very much. Florence feared she would lose her child.
Even though Florence tried everything within her means to get her daughter as much health care as she could, Anite did not recover completely. Her immunity was very low and she continued to suffer from malaria.
When Florence realized that her daughter’s malaria was persistent, she took Anite to her pastor for a prayer of deliverance. But Anite’s illness would not go away.
Anite was not the only one in her family suffering from this deadly disease. Last year, her father passed away due to malaria associated with HIV.
Anite’s siblings also suffered from malaria. Her sister Josephine caught severe malaria that left her with a spleen condition.
The problem extends beyond Anite’s home; most of the family’s neighbors have also been victims of malaria.
Ten-year-old Anite lives with her mother, two siblings and a cousin. They live in a rented two-room house in one of the slums in Lugazi. The slum does not have a good drainage system, so there is stagnant water in their neighborhood. Because of these conditions, the rate of malaria in Lugazi is very high.
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When Anite joined the Child Sponsorship Program six years ago, the child development center staff were committed to reducing the rate at which the children suffered from malaria.
Development center staff member Susan says that many of the causes of malaria in Lugazi are preventable, so they set out to train the children and their families on how to prevent the disease.
“Malaria is the most common disease in this area. Most people suffer from malaria because they are negligent. They do not sleep under treated mosquito nets and they have uncut bushes and stagnant water. There are also myths surrounding treated mosquito nets, so people are reluctant to use them. Some people used to think that these nets have been brought to shorten their lifespan since they have medicine in them. Most people also drink unboiled water, which reduces their immunity.”
Through Compassion’s ministry, all caregivers have received mosquito nets and training on how to prevent malaria. The development center has also given them aqua safe cans and water purifying tablets. Once they drop a tablet in the water, it is safe to consume.
Anite and her family were among the beneficiaries of this intervention. Each of our beneficiaries receives two treated mosquito nets, but in order to protect Anite from the frequent malaria attacks the development center staff needs to ensure that her family receives more nets.
Fortunately, the ministry of health in Uganda distributed mosquito nets to areas most affected by the disease.
The development center staff lobbied for mosquito nets from their district council and were able to secure treated mosquito nets. From this supply they provided Anite’s family with two additional nets.
Despite the intervention, Anite’s health was still poor. She still suffered frequent malaria attacks. She fell sick at least four times in a month, which affected her grades at school. At home, she could not do much. Her mother said that Anite could not even carry a five-liter can of water.
Susan does home visits twice a year for each child. However, because of Anite’s situation, Susan would visit her every week or at least twice a month. When Anite was sick, Susan would stop by her home every evening.
Not only did Anite have poor health, there were also times when her family could not afford to put food on the table. Her mother is a nursery school teacher and sells a few food items at a stall near their home, but the money Florence earns is not enough to support her family.
Seeing the family’s need, the child development center arranged for Florence to receive a monthly amount of money to provide food for her children.
Today, six years after first joining the center, Anite has made tremendous improvements. She has grown into a tall, beautiful girl who is full of joy and she no longer suffers those frequent bouts with malaria.
Today Anite is able to help her mother with household chores. She says she enjoys fetching water, washing clothes and cleaning their house.
This child who at one time could not carry a five-liter can of water now has enough energy to play netball and do many chores.
As Anite’s health improved, so have her grades at school. This is just the beginning for Anite; she hopes to do even better.
Florence is grateful for our ministry, which she says has played a big role in her child’s life. Without help from the Compassion-assisted child development center, she says, she does not know how she would have managed to take care of Anite.
Anite is now a healthy, happy child.
One of the things that makes Anite very happy is receiving letters from her sponsor, Sharon. Recently, Sharon’s children sent Anite a card that they painted. She was delighted. Anite says she prays for her sponsor because she knows that Sharon prays for her.