A second chance to live

One-year-old Alexandria Katontoka from the Serenje District of Zambia fell sick on 13 December 2017 at around 10:00am. He stopped playing with his friend and fell asleep near the doorway of his house. While picking up her (seemingly) sleepy son, Sharon Musonda realized his body temperature was very high. Worried, she immediately set off to see the Community Healthcare Volunteer, Charity Mumba. With a rapid diagnostic test confirming Alexandria had malaria he was given an antimalarial and paracetamol and taken home.

At around 3:00pm Alexandria’s big brother came running to Charity’s home in tears. He said that Alexandria had died, and he had been sent to call her. Charity ran into her house to pick up her test kits and rectal artesunate (RAS). When she arrived, Alexandria was lying on a blanket on the floor with his eyes closed. His mother, Sharon, explained that he had started vomiting severely and had been having fits.

Charity immediately administered RAS and advised for preparations to be made to go to the hospital. Just 5 minutes later, Alexandria opened his eyes and started to cry. Charity's husband then called for a bicycle ambulance, which transferred Sharon and Alexandria to the local health facility within 2 hours.

On arrival at the facility, Alexandria was given three courses of injectable artesunate and the following day could be discharged, with a course of ACT and vitamins to be taken at home. Although it took him almost a week to walk properly, thanks to the follow-up visits by Charity, we know he has now fully recovered. RAS gave Alexandria a second chance to live.