“I used to stay up all night chasing away mosquitoes,” says Geneviève Ndagijimana, a 34-year-old mother from Burundi. “But it seemed like whatever I did, my children and I would get sick.”
Geneviève and her husband live in the suburbs of Bujumbura, Burundi with their four children and their two nephews. As far back as they can remember, they all lived in fear of malaria. They had lost too many family members to the disease. “For many years, I suffered from countless cases of malaria, and I lost two children and my brother to the illness. That was a horrible period in my life.”
When she was pregnant with her fifth child, Geneviève was sure she would lose that baby too. So she went to a nearby health center to see if they could help.
“That’s where I met Therese Kaburungu, the health clinic manager,” says Geneviève. “She gave me a mosquito net and told me to take it home and use it. The PSI staff who had given the nets to the health center had said that they were offered by USAID for women just like me.”
That net changed their lives.
“For the first time in years, I slept through the night,” says Geneviève. “When my children and I woke up, none of us had any bites, and since we started using the mosquito net, we have been healthy.”
Geneviève wants other mothers in her community to use a net too. “Now, I always encourage people to use their nets because mosquitoes have no mercy; they kill,” she says. “I have lost family, and I have suffered a lot. But now, my family and I are sleeping safe and sound, and I want others to sleep safely too.”
Banner image credit: (c)PSI/Benjamin Schilling