Surviving severe malaria

One night in May 2018, 3-year-old Mervis from Kebumba, Serenje District, Zambia, began to show signs of being unwell. She had a high fever and had lost her appetite. By the next morning, the situation had taken a dramatic turn for the worse; little Mervis had begun convulsing.

Priscilla Chibuye, Mervis’ mother, rushed her to the nearest community health volunteer, Idess. Thanks to the training Idess had received through the MAM project, she quickly suspected severe malaria and administered two artesunate suppositories. These helped to stabilize Mervis until she could get to a health facility.

Meanwhile, Justina, an ETS bicycle rider, was called. The journey to Mulilima Rural Health Centre took an hour and a half. On arrival, it was confirmed that Mervis was suffering from severe malaria.

She was promptly given injectable artesunate (Inj As). Later that evening, following her second dose of treatment, Mervis was already starting to show signs of improvement. She began to show interest in her surroundings and ask for food again. The next morning, Mervis received her third and final dose of Inj AS and was soon discharged. Mum Priscilla was given further oral medication to complete Mervis’ malaria treatment at home.

During a follow-up visit Idess made to the family, Priscilla remarked that, before the MAM project came to her community, many children used to die from severe malaria. She was grateful the situation today had changed, and that her own daughter had made a full recovery.