Thomas still remembers the panic in his wife’s voice when she called to tell him his two year daughter Irene was convulsing and couldn’t open her eyes. Rushing her straight to the hospital, Irene was immediately diagnosed with severe malaria and given emergency treatment.
Thomas describes the next few days as terrible, scared that Irene might not survive because so many young children in Ghana die from malaria. After two weeks in hospital and blood transfusions, Irene made a full recovery and Thomas will never forget the day he walked into the ward to see his wife smiling and his daughter’s eyes open for the first time.
But he was left struggling to pay for her hospital care which cost Thomas over six month’s salary:
“I was lucky to have friends and family who were able to help and also took on extra work as a barber. It took me a year, but I have managed to pay off the debt.
Thomas now volunteers with a malaria prevention project in Ghana’s Ashanti Region. He says it was an easy decision for him to make, having experienced what he did with his daughter and wanting to help prevent other parents going through the same thing:
“My experience with Irene has made me especially thankful for Malaria No More UK’s support for the distribution of mosquito nets to help prevent malaria here in Dromankuma. My part in the campaign involved taking and hanging nets in my neighbours' homes and following up with these families to ensure they understand how to use and care for their nets correctly.”
Various mosquito net distribution projects in the area has increased the number of people with access to nets from 2% to 99% of the entire population – including Thomas’ family who now use their net every night.