This blog is part of the #DefeatMalariaWorld Malaria Day blog series hosted by Roll Back Malaria, to be published between April 8 and May 1, 2015
By Matt McLaughlin, Program Manager of Peace Corps Stomping Out Malaria in Africa initiative.
Sokhna lived in the village of Missira Dantilla nestled in the rolling hills of southeastern Senegal, where the Sahelian savannah climbs to the Guinean plateau. It was 2012 and her uncle Cheikh was a community health worker proud to have recently been trained by the Ministry of Health in the use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests and how to prescribe frontline malaria drugs. The Ministry had invested in training community health workers across the country and subsidized the services they provided – tests and treatment were free.
From time to time, someone from the village would knock on the rough-hewn wooden door to Cheikh’s mud hut complaining of a fever or chills. Occasionally, it was a mystery illness that left him feeling frustrated and useless, but more often it was malaria, and his eyes gleamed as he reached eagerly into his backpack for the little blister pack of the artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) that would make all the difference.