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Consolatte watched malaria stalk her village in Burundi, and one night she feared it had come to her home.
She knew that recently many mothers in her community, Gitaramuka Commune, lost their children to malaria. And she spent a long night holding her son, Divin, feeling heat course through his small body.
The next morning, she was one of three mothers waiting with small children in their laps outside Diomede Ndayisenga’s home.
A volunteer community health worker, Diomede serves on the front lines of Burundi’s battle with malaria.
Seated at a table beneath a tree, he wears his nursing uniform. White gloves on his hands, clean needles at the ready, he diagnoses and treats malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea at his home in northeast Burundi’s Karusi province. Diomede did not go to nursing school but was trained and equipped by World Vision.
It only takes Diomede 15 minutes to tell her what’s making Divin hot and listless: it’s malaria.
With the first dose of medicine, Consolatte’s worries aren’t over, but she’s relieved that her child is being cared for.
“I am happy my child is diagnosed and treated close to home,” she says.
A malaria outbreak affected more than 5 million people out of Burundi’s 10 million population in the first 8eight months of 2016. The malaria numbers were twice what they were in the same period of 2015.
Diomede, the volunteer health worker, and 520 more like him in Kansu province, are working to turn the tide of rampant malaria infections in Burundi.
In the first six months of 2016, they treated more than 90,000 children. By delivering healthcare at the community level, they relieve a burden on families and public health centers that are swamped with patients.
“After treating a child, I follow up with home visits within 48 hours,” says Diomede. “If the situation worsens, the child is referred to a health center.”
Young children are more likely than adults to suffer severe effects from malaria, including seizures, coma, and death. Out of the 438,000 deaths attributed to malaria in 2015, 69 percent of those who lost their lives were children under age 5, says the World Health Organization.
Photo©2016 World Vision, Javan Niyakire