UNICEF | Sierra Leone | Mosquito Net Portraits

Two men and a woman stand and look down at a mound of earth in a field.

When Kadiatu fell ill, her condition did not appear serious, so the family tried to care for her at home. After three days, her condition worsened, so they decided to take her to hospital. Mariama was diagnosed with severe malaria at the hospital and did not survive.

“Her death is a still a shock to me and the children. We didn’t expect her to die of this sickness. We were married for 25 years and she was very devoted to our family. She didn’t mind making sacrifices just to make us happy. She was very helping in making sure we sell crops from our farm at very good prices,” says Abdulai.

“We were hoping that she will recover from the sickness. We were really shocked when we went to see her in the morning and were told that she had died,” says Ibrahim.

Sierra Leone is one of seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa where more than a quarter of the population is infected with malaria at any one time, according to World Malaria Report (World Health Organization 2016), with nearly three in ten Sierra Leoneans suffering from the disease. Malaria contributes to an estimated twenty per cent of child mortality, and is the cause of nearly four in ten hospital consultations country-wide. Pregnant women are at particular risk from malaria, which contributes to high rates of miscarriage, pre-mature births and low birth weights. Four in ten children aged 6-59 months tested positive for malaria (via microscopy), according to survey data in the just published Sierra Leone Malaria Indicator Survey (2016). As stated in the Sierra Leone National Strategic Plan 2016-2020, all children under 5 and all pregnant women should sleep under a treated mosquito net every night to prevent malaria complications.

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