A Mother’s Nightmare


If I had a net, my children would have been alive today.

Elizabeth Apem remembers the last time she was awakened by her child, sick in the middle of the night: “My daughter woke up from sleep complaining of a severe headache and joint pains,” she says. “I checked on her and she was shivering in bed. She had [a] high fever.”

Elizabeth lives in rural Kenya, far from health care and with no car or other means of transportation. Thirteen-year-old Silale had to wait until morning to go to a clinic.

“We could not sleep anymore,” Elizabeth says. “My daughter struggled the rest of the night. I had nothing I could give her to relieve the pain. I kept watching over her until dawn.”

When they got to the clinic, Silale was diagnosed with malaria.

Every 60 seconds a family loses a child to malaria. Silale’s was one of those children. She was the second of Elizabeth’s six children to die from a mosquito bite.

World Vision staff heard this story from Elizabeth as they were passing out the very thing that could have helped—an insecticide-treated bed net. A bed net costs less than $7 and lasts for years.

“If I had a net, my children would have been alive today. I am happy to get a net at last,” Elizabeth says.

Now all of Elizabeth’s children sleep safely under the new nets. 

Photo credit: 2011 Kenneth Kibet/World Vision

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