Tag Archives: Malaria

Katrina

Just to let you know this is not a ‘happy update’ but unfortunately, it is part of reality and something our team wanted to share with our supporters to give you an insight into health problems within Katanga.

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As you may well have heard, during last week, one of the students in our catch-up classes died of cerebral malaria. ‘Trina’ died after contracting the infectious disease and within 24 hours, from recognition that she was ill, she had passed away.

She joined our catch up classes when I was over in Uganda, in October 2013. Being a young 4 year old, I remember she was easily distracted, often bossing boys of her age around. Even though she had this tough side to her, she would love colouring and singing with the rest of the class, progressing well in her learning over the past 6 months.

People dying in Katanga is not uncommon but it hits further when it is a child you know and have invested your time in.

It seems every few months that Megan and I get informed of someone else we knew of in Katanga dying; the younger sister, to a boy in our classes, died of severe burns, the electrician, who did all the electrics in our school buildings, died on another job, sorting out faulty wires and a couple of months ago we were informed of the sister of a boy we work with, passing away, leaving 2 more children for the Jaja (Grandma) to look after…

…and the list goes on.

There are a number of things that we do at Hope for Life we hope will reduce unnecessary deaths; giving out mosquito nets, delivering trainings and workshops in the area of health and providing free health check-ups and advice, by a trained nurse that we employee once a week.

One of the most important parts of our job is counselling, mourning with the family, helping them when tragic events do happen. Our staff went with the family, to the burial in her families village.

Thanks for your support through the many good times and equally through the tough to comprehend.

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Day 7 – Mosquito nets

Malaria is a huge problem in Uganda, with Mosquitoes all around the country carrying the infectious disease. Mosquitoes particularly inhabit and breed in warm, stagnant water. The drainage and general sanitation in Katanga is very poor and so there is not a shortage of stagnant water, and as a result, mosquitoes in Katanga.

Health

The best way to protect yourself from the bite of a mosquito is to have a special net over your bed that mosquitoes can’t get through.

Many families in Katanga can not afford to buy a net, despite understanding the importance of protection, despite having friends and family die because of malaria.

Every Ugandan I speak to is very flippant about a new case of malaria, saying things like, ‘I have had it 3 times this year already’. They are flippant, not because malaria is not very serious, but because it happens so frequently to Ugandans all around the country.

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There are different strains of malaria, some that can kill in hours and other strains that providing you get the correct medication you will be able to get better.

The problem with handing out mosquito nets is you can’t just hand them out to everyone. People are well known for taking the mosquito nets and then selling them on to others for a quick financial gain.

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As part of working with the families we get to know their home situation, including things like whether they sleep under a net or not. Our continued relationship with them means we are able to do regular checks on the family to ensure the nets are still up in their house to ensure prevent them from selling them on.

We give nets first to those who are the most vulnerable to being affected by malaria e.g. pregnant women and children. The malaria nets we give out are ‘family nets’, which means you can put 1 over a mattress and that will cover as many as 8 children each night. The nets cost only £5 per month but are worth so much more than that in lives saved and cost in medication each time they get ill.

If you are interested in donating into out Health program, to buy more mosquito nets for families in Katanga then you can give to Hope for Life at £5/net on our donate page.

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You can read our last post on giving out new dresses to children in Katanga… Day 6 – Dresses

Day 4 – Dr Katanga (Part 1)

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Some of you may know that Megan and I went to Uganda, originally for 3 months, in September 2011 and it was from those few months that Hope for Life Katanga was birthed.

However, we didn’t go to Uganda to start a charity, we went to help a team of doctors & nurses we knew in running a couple of medical camps, one in Kampala and another down near Kisoro, Uganda. This is not to say Megan and I are medically trained, not in the slightest, but we came to assist where needed in the work these medical professionals were doing.

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We were so pleased to hear that the couple that led the group of Dr’s and Nurses, Trevor and Carol, were coming back to Uganda; we definitely saw this as an opportunity to get them to help us in the charity that we had set up in Katanga.

There is huge amount of illness within Katanga, with our children often getting Malaria. So we thought it would be a good idea to use the skills of Trevor and Carol to do a ‘check-up’ of the children and families that we work with.

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Despite the local hospitals being ‘free’ for appointments, the families often tell us that they don’t go because they get charged for seeing a doctor. They were appreciative of the time that both Trevor and Carol spent with the families to help, where possible, in the area of Health.

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While the children took it in turn to see the doctor, the others were drawing pictures and writing notes of thanks. We talked about drawing something related to doctors and hospitals and it was quite disconcerting, but not surprising, to see many drawing huge syringe and needles.

The children breathed a huge sigh of relief when they found out that syringes and needles were not going to be used.

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The above picture is one of our students Christine, showing her picture to the doctor.

Read about our previous day in Katanga from our previous blog… Day 3 – Painting